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What happened?

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This past weekend I hosted a dinner party. I made cherry vanilla ice cream and meringues for dessert. With it, I intended to serve a port reduction sauce but here's what happened:

I put about half a magnum of (cheap) port into a sauce pan and started boiling. I also added sugar (not sure how much, but I'd guess around half a cup) and a bit of orange blossom water. I let it boil for a while until it had reduced to about a quarter of its original volume. I removed it from the heat and walked away.

One of my dinner guests called me over because suddenly the reduction had ballooned over the top of the sauce pan and solidified! I thought I had inadvertently made some sort of port candy and assumed that it would be hollow inside. Upon cutting into it I discovered that it was completely solid. Its volume was now more than double that of the original liquid in the pot. Unfortunately, the only flavor it had was burnt. However, dessert was still great without it.

Any idea what happened? Thanks

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  1. You turned your syrup into Carbon. Pyrolysis I believe is the term.Basically the heat left in your( already burnt) port reduction and the pot finished the process leaving just burnt residue mostly carbon.