This Rum Sauce a.k.a. Rum & Butter Sauce or Rum Caramel Sauce goes by a few names but either way it is an outstandingly delicious addition to desserts like bread pudding, apple pie or ice cream!
I recently updated our old family favourite recipe for Rum Raisin Bread Pudding and part of the update was the addition of a rum sauce. I almost always refer to it as a rum & butter sauce because in my opinion, the real dairy butter is an essential flavour component.
Over the years I’ve seen several similar recipes, sometimes called Rum Caramel Sauce or Rum & Butter Sauce. At their heart of all those recipes though, the concept is still the same; a well made caramel sauce with the addition of dark rum.
My daughter Olivia was home from University in Toronto last weekend for mid term break, so we held a big family dinner with about 12 of us in the extended family. The bread pudding was a big hit for dessert, but the real showstopper was this incredible rum & butter sauce. As Spouse says, “You should be allowed to drink that stuff through a straw!”
Rum Sauce is the perfect compliment to many old fashioned desserts like traditional steamed puddings, Figgy Duff and even your Christmas Plum Pudding. Don’t stop there though, try it on warm Gingerbread Cake or on our Blueberry Molasses Gingerbread Cake.
The last time I baked a Homemade Apple Pie I served it with vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of this rum sauce. I can’t even begin to describe how incredibly, perfectly delectable that was. You’re thinking about that right now aren’t you? Believe me, it is even better than you are imagining.
So call it rum sauce, rum & butter sauce or rum caramel sauce, it doesn’t matter. You’ll want to make it again and again.
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- 2 cups sugar
- ⅔ cup butter cut in small cubes
- 4 tbsp water
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup dark rum depending on how strongly flavoured you like it. I use 1/2 cup.
Begin by mixing the sugar and water in a large saucepan. NOTE: I use a large saucepan of about 3 quarts or larger because the sugar foams up when you add the butter and cream so make sure you have a large enough pot.
Boil the sugar and water over medium heat until the mixture begins to turn a light to medium amber color. The real skill in making caramel sauce does come with experience and knowing the point at which the color is perfect. Good advice for beginners is that it is better to be a little too light in color rather than a little too dark because too dark a caramel can often taste a little burnt. It is very easy to burn this mixture which can happen very quickly once the proper color is achieved, so have your butter and cream at the ready, as timing is crucial for this recipe.
Do not stir the boiling sugar, this can cause it to crystallize. If you find the sugar starts to crystallize, use a pastry brush to brush water around the inside edge of the pot as it boils. You may have to do this several times. Carefully swirling the pan occasionally is also helpful to avoid crystallization of the sugar.
When the color is right, quickly add the butter and stir quickly until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat immediately and pour in the whipping cream, stirring constantly until the sauce is uniformly smooth.
Finally, quickly whisk in the rum.
Cool completely. Store in an airtight plastic container or in a mason jar. This sauce is fantastic with almost any apple dessert or for great sundaes.
You will want to prepare the ingredients and have them at the ready. Timing is very important in any good caramel sauce, so having the butter and cream ready at the crucial point is critical to the success of your sauce.
You will also want to be very careful when preparing caramel sauce; when the sugar syrup hits the right stage to add the butter and cream it will be over 300 degrees F so it is important to take particular care.
It is also very important to use a proper sized pot. Although the recipe only makes about 3 cups, you will need a 2½ to 3 quart/liter heavy bottomed saucepan because the sugar syrup will foam up considerably and produce a considerable amount of steam when the butter is added and again when the cream is added.
These safety tips are not meant to deter, it's just good advice to make these sorts of things when you can take the time without distractions and give it your full attention. A successful caramel sauce is also one that has been given careful attention. With a little practice you will be a caramel ace in no time.
This sauce, minus the rum is my regular recipe for caramel sauce which is also incredibly delicious.
Changing up the spirits in this recipe can make for other delicious sauces. Brandy, cognac or whiskey can also be used. Bourbon as a substitute makes a bourbon caramel sauce that is exceptionally delicious on apple desserts in particular.
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