Part of the fun of being deeply into pastry is discovering the odd little components you never knew existed, but which make your dinner guests’ eyes bug out of their head as they demand to know: what IS that??
Espresso syrup is one of them. A very simple combination of deep, dark caramel and espresso, it’s great for flavoring all sorts of cream fillings, or drizzling strategically on plated desserts. If you’re familiar with making caramel — or even if you’re not — making it is a stroll in the park.
Start by combining a cup of sugar and about a quarter cup of water in saucepan.
Set it over high heat and swirl it gently.
It’ll get darker…
…and darker until it starts to smoke prodigiously. Cook it until you see a deep brown-black spot in the center of the pan.
At this point add 4 ounces (half a cup) of warm espresso. Careful now…it’ll hiss and bubble.
Drop the heat to medium and whisk the mixture. Keep the heat on as long as there are still any hard bits remaining.
You want it nice and smooth, about like so:
Allow it to cool completely, then pour it into a jar for storage (if you want to spike it with a little rum or something beforehand, who am I to stop you?). It will keep for weeks, even months, though it will lose some of its potency with the passage of time.