Haitian Tablet – Anyone who has a fun childhood in Haiti knows the type of excitement and joy that spreads across a child’s face when you hand a tablet pistach to him or her.
Also known as Peanut Brittle, the Haitian tablet is one of the most popular snacks or candy in the streets of Haiti. And for the right reason, it is very sweet.
The popularity of the snack also bloomed with the sugar boom in Haiti years ago. When sugarcane was a cash crop in Haiti and sugar was produced in mass quantities, sugar was readily available and this was the inspiration behind this snack.
Although Haiti has reduced its production of sugar due to international competition and declining prices, this snack remains popular in Haiti and many parts of the world and serves as a reminder of the boom in the Haitian sugar industry.
We will definitely discuss why Haitian Tablet or Tablet Pistache is so darn good and we will also touch on its origin story, its methods of preparation as well as important preparation tips. We will also review some of the best and safest ways to store excess Haitian Tablets.
To Start Of – The History of Haitian Tablet
Apart from the fact that the snack is a representation of the good old days of the sugar boom in Haiti, there is not a lot of history surrounding the Haitian tablet.
However, we can delve a bit into the history of the food culture that birthed the beverage, Haitian Cuisine.
Haitian cuisine is one of the most diverse cuisines in the world, and this is due to the influence of different cultures in the development of the cuisine.
Cultures such as Spanish, French, African, and Taino cultures played a pivotal role in the development of this cuisine over the years.
It also bears some resemblance to Creole cuisine, but distinguishes itself, all thanks to its unique flavors and dishes.
There are many instances of the effect of foreign influences on Haitian cuisine.
For instance, while African cuisines use herbs and peppers to create flavors and spice up the food, Haitian dishes rely on the use of spices such as star anise and cloves to make bold flavors and add some warmth to the food.
The cuisine also features some elements of French sophistication in their foods, as well as Levantine additions from the more recent introduction of Arabian culture in the country.
Key Ingredients & Variations
Unsalted Roasted Peanuts: This is the first and most important ingredient for making the Haitian tablet. While some tablets are made using coconut, the peanut variant is the most popular in Haiti and my absolute favorite.
You can either get the peanuts from the store or make them yourself. As usual, getting peanuts from the store saves you a lot of time, but homemade peanuts taste better and are also safer and more nutritious. So, if you have time to spare, you can try to make the roasted peanuts yourself.
To roast the peanuts yourself, all you need to make a homemade roasted peanut is the peanuts and a shallow baking dish.
For the peanuts, it pays to get dried and raw peanuts as these are the best peanuts to roast. However, if you cannot get dried peanuts but green peanuts, you will need to boil the green peanuts and dry them before roasting them.
Depending on your preference, you can decide to either shell the peanuts or leave them like that.
If you are using unshelled peanuts, you may want to go through them before you start roasting. When sorting through the peanuts, you are looking for the ones with clean, unbroken, and unblemished shells. Also, good unshelled peanuts should not rattle when you shake them.
Once you have your peanuts, place them in the oven and bake for about 20- 25 minutes. They should be stirred once or twice during cooking, and they should be in the oven till the shells turn lightly golden brown.
Brown Sugar: You can opt in for granulated sugar or pure cane sugar, but dark brown sugar works best for this Haitian Tablet Recipe (Tablet Pistach) and we’ll explain why below.
Brown sugar, also known as unrefined sugar, this type of sugar underwent lesser processing cycles and this allows it retains its molasses content.
Sometimes, it is also produced by mixing white refined sugar with molasses. In a nutshell, the difference between the two types of sugar is the molasses.
Ginger & Cinnamon: Both spices are added to provide depth of flavor to the Tablet. The spices will add warmth to the tablet.
Can you substitute the sugar?
You cannot substitute the brown sugar with the refined sugar as it will affect the texture and color of the Haitian tablet when you are done.
The caramel brown of the brown sugar is one of the important factors that contribute to the brown color that the Haitian tablet is known for. By switching this sugar for the white refined sugar, you may be tampering with the resultant color of the snack.
Also, brown sugar apart from the molasses content retains moisture. This means that the snacks and food items in which it is used are denser and softer.
Making the Haitian Tablet Pistach (Peanut Brittle)
Making this peanut brittle is very simple.
Step 1: The first step is to gather the ingredients this include adding parchment paper to a cookie sheet (set it aside).
Step 2: In a saucepan over medium low heat, add the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and vanilla extract. At this point you can also add ¼ tsp. nutmeg but that’s completely optional.
So, this mixture consists of brown sugar, water, vanilla extract or whatever flavor you want to use, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
Some people use anise star extract, but it is not that important to do so. The cinnamon and ginger will provide depth of flavor, along with the vanilla extract.
Step 3: All of these ingredients should go into a saucepan, and you should bring them to low boil. Reduce the heat as necessary so you do not burn the sugar.
Step 4: Once your sugar has completely dissolved and has turned into a beautiful brown color, add the peanuts. Mix well to combine. Add the honey, and ¼ cup water.
Allow the peanuts to cook in the sugar mixture for about 5-10 minutes over medium low heat, or when the mixture starts to thicken.
At this point, you can remove the heat from the saucepan and continue to stir until the moisture in the mixture evaporates and you have a sticky mixture.
Step 5: Transfer the Haitian Tablet onto a lined cookie sheet or nonstick baking mat either as whole to cut into squares after cooling or separate into bite size pieces.
Allow the peanut brittle to cool completely on the counter, this process should take about 3 hours.
Variations and Substitutions
Other nuts, especially coconut, can be used to make the Haitian Tablet.
Storing Your Peanut Brittle
You can store the snack in a fridge for a week or a few days over the counter.
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Haitian Peanut Brittle (Haitian Tablet)
- 1 Saucepan
- 1 cup Roasted Peanuts Unsalted
- 1 ½ cup Dark Brown Sugar Tightly packed
- 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- ½ tsp. Kosher Salt
- 3 tsp. Ground Ginger
- 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbps. Honey
- ¼ Cup Water
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, add the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and vanilla extract. Mix well to combine and bring to a low boil. Adjust the heat as necessary so the sugar do not burn.
- Once your sugar has completely dissolved and has turned into a beautiful dark brown color, add the peanuts. Mix well to combine. Then the honey, and ¼ cup water. Allow the peanuts to cook in the sugar mixture for about 5-10 minutes over medium low heat, or when the mixture starts to thicken.Transfer the Haitian Tablet onto a lined cookie sheet or nonstick baking mat either as whole to cut into squares after cooling or separate into bite size pieces. Allow the peanut brittle to cool completely on the counter, this process should take about 3 hours. Cut into desired size pieces.