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Sesame praline was one of my favourite childhood treats, so when I came across a Jamie Oliver recipe a few years ago, I couldn’t resist trying to make them at home.

It was an unmitigated disaster. The burnt caramel and sesame seeds bubbled over the top of the pan, smoking out the kitchen and sticking to the hob like concrete.

It’s taken me several years to build up the nerve for a second attempt, and this time I made sure I had Pete with me.  As I mentioned previously, he’s now in charge of hot sugar in our family – my nerves aren’t up to it anymore.

If you do decide to try this, please be careful. It’s quite a large quantity of molten sugar and it needs to be cooked in a large diameter pot that won’t overflow.  Pete has asked me to emphasize that the pot needs to be wide rather than tall and skinny.

And don’t take your eyes off the sugar, as it can burn in a heartbeat.

  • 500g white sugar
  • 200ml water
  • 200g white sesame seeds

1. Lightly oil a large heatproof surface – I used the silicone baking mat that Davey gave me, but Jamie Oliver suggests using an oiled non-stick tray in his recipe.

2. In a large pot (we used a stainless steel sauté pan), bring the sugar and water to boil over a low heat, whisking to combine.  The aim is to have all the sugar crystals dissolved before the mixture comes to a boil.

3. Once the mixture starts simmering, stop stirring, but keep an eye on the pot, swirling it frequently to ensure it cooks evenly.  Keep adjusting the heat as necessary to keep it at a low bubble.  Be patient, this stage can take quite a few minutes, depending on your hob and your pan.

4. As soon as the mixture starts to turn a light golden colour, turn the heat down, add all the sesame seeds and stir to combine.  It’s hard to tell from the photo below, but the sugar syrup was a pale brown before the white sesame seeds went into it.

5. Continue cooking gently until the mixture darkens and the sesame seeds are lightly toasted. Resist the urge to put your fingers anywhere near the boiling hot sugar lava!

6. Working quickly (it helps to have two sets of hands here), pour the praline onto the prepared surface and spread it out as thinly as possible with an oiled palette knife.  You’ll only get a few seconds to do this.  Don’t spend time trying to scrape the last remnants out of the pan – if you do, the bulk of it will set hard before you get a chance to spread it out.

7. Allow the praline to cool completely before snapping into pieces.

I tried blitzing a few shards of the praline into a fine powder and then adding them to tempered dark chocolate.  The results were quite pleasing, but I think I prefer the sesame snaps plain – nostalgia adds an extra layer of flavour!

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