I’ve been known to be the sort of person who acts now and thinks later. I’d never made fudge before and assumed it would be dead easy – just shove some ingredients together, give it a stir and Bob’s your uncle. So, without reading through the recipe, or honing up on the finer points of fudge-making, I characteristically launched straight in.
Five minutes later I consigned my first batch of blackened fudge to the bin after failing to add in the milk. Expletives reigned supreme, I can tell you, but in true heroic style I started again, all the while cursing about the unnecessary waste of ingredients. Batch #2 seemed to work well enough, but not really being a fudge eater, I had no idea whether I was on track or not. So, while the fudge was setting, I went to the internet to find out how to make it (yep… back to front, I know) and, apart from discovering a number of helpful tips I wish I’d known while I was making it, concluded that I had indeed made a good batch.
I also learned some interesting stuff about Russian Fudge along the way. Firstly, it’s not even Russian – apparently we confused souls Down Under came up with that misnomer ourselves. Nope, it’s Scottish, though what we refer to as fudge, they call Scottish Tablet. And, what we refer to as Russian Fudge is Scottish Tablet with some Golden Syrup thrown in. You learn something new every day.
But, all that aside, if you’re a fudge lover you’ll love this recipe from Jo Seagar on Chelsea.co.nz. Try and forget the trailer-load of sugar it’s got in it – after all, it’s for special occasions only right? This particular fudge is gorgeously soft to eat, every so slightly ‘sandy’ in texture – the kind that melts directly on your tongue, and decidedly caramel tasting with just a hint of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Yep, that’s right, I sloshed a bit in there at the last moment instead of vanilla, and who wouldn’t! It might not be kosher, but it’s darned delicious!
So, go stock up on sugar and make this baby to bestow as Christmas gifts – that is, if it lasts that long. I froze my batch to keep it out of harm’s way and avoid temptation, but then unfortunately discovered just how flippin’ good it tasted straight out of the freezer. So much for Christmas gifts!
- 3 1/2 cups white sugar - using caster sugar (superfine) will speed up the dissolving process
- 125g (4.4 oz) butter
- 3 Tbsp Golden Syrup
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 200g (7 oz) sweetened condensed milk (half a standard tin)
- 2 tsp vanilla essence (or try 1 Tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream!)
- Grease a 20cm (8 inch) cake tin and line with baking paper, ensuring there’s an over-hang to make it easy to lift out the set fudge.
- Place all the ingredients except the vanilla (or Bailey’s Irish Cream) into a medium, heavy based saucepan. Warm over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the sugar has dissolved, about 10-15 mins. You should be able to rub some of the mixture between your fingers and detect no grains.
- Bring to a gentle boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes*, until it reaches the soft-ball stage 115-120°C (239°F-248°F). If you don’t have a thermometer, you can drop a little of the mixture into a saucer of water – if it holds its shape (i.e. doesn’t melt into the water) and you can roll it into a soft ball, it’s ready.
- Remove from the heat and add the vanilla (or Bailey’s Irish Cream) and stir to incorporate (it will sizzle) . Cool for 5 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until the fudge is creamy and thick and has lost its gloss (approx. 10 minutes).
- Pour the mixture into prepared tin and level it out (work quickly as it will be setting up fast) and set on a cooling rack at room temperature. While still warm, score the top into the sized pieces you want (this will help it cut more easily). Once cooled and set, lift the fudge out of the tin and place on a cutting board. Using the scoring as a guide, cut the fudge into pieces.
Storage: It’s often recommended that you don’t refrigerate fudge as it will dry out faster. Instead, store it in a sealed container in a cool, dry place – it should last a good 2 weeks. Otherwise, you can freeze it (in a sealed container lined with wax paper above and below the fudge) for longer storage – you can eat it straight out of the freezer (it’s delicious!), or let it come to room temperature before serving.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting