I shall start today’s post by explaining the name I have given this creation.
You probably all know what fudge is, but some of you may have not come across a Scottish confection called Tablet. Tablet is made in a similar way to fudge but it isn’t as yielding and has an initially fine grainy texture which instantly melts in the mouth.
This creation was supposed to be fudge, but it has ended up somewhere between fudge and tablet, hence the name ‘Fudge-Let’.
So now that I have explained the peculiar name let’s move on to the things I learnt during my first attempt at making fudge.
1) You need time. You can not whip up a batch in half an hour between baking a pie and meeting a friend for lunch. Unless of course you are a seasoned fudge making pro.
2) You need patience. Lots of it. One – because of the length of time it takes, and two – because when waiting for the temperature to reach 116 degrees Celsius the thermometer will rocket up to 106 degrees then drop down to 103, then go up to 107, then drop back down to 106, then flit between 0.1 of a degree for what feels like half an eternity and you will begin to mutter expletives at the thermometer out of frustration. Then it will take another half an eternity to reach 115 degrees then all of a sudden leap to almost 117 in the blink of an eye. This will drive you crazy, unless you are prepared. I have prepared you so hopefully you won’t curse and swear at an inanimate object.
3) You need a big pan. Otherwise you will have to change pans halfway through when you realise the molten volcano of sugary milky cream is going to bubble all over the stove top because the pan isn’t large enough to contain it. Changing pans halfway through has potentially disastrous consequences.
4) If your digital thermometer has a plastic top and therefore can’t be rested against the side of the pan without bending and melting slightly (which you discovered when you did exactly that whilst making a sugar syrup for some macarons), so you have to hold it all the time, you need to wear an oven glove because things are going to get hot and that bubbling molten sugar will spit.
5) Don’t let the probe of the thermometer touch the bottom of the pan otherwise you are taking the temperature of the pan and not the molten sugary milky cream would-be fudge (or fudge-let).
6) Making fudge is nothing like making caramel or toffee.
7) You need to beat the crap out of it.
8) You will get a blister whilst beating the crap out of it.
9) It is possible to beat too much crap out of it.
10) Sugar is the most temperamental substance on the planet.
My investigations into just how much you should beat it resulted in a lot of contradictory advice. Some said beat it until it is so stiff you can barely move the spoon through it. Some said beat it until it can’t be poured. Others say beat it until it is no longer glossy and has thicken a little. I suspect this last one may be the most accurate.
I failed to beat it the first time. I simply added the spices and coffee, mixed it in and poured into the tin. When it set it was very granular – kind of slushy with large lumps of crunchy sugar – which isn’t very pleasant.
One thing that is consistent is how you can rectify it if this happens. I have put the method below in the notes of the recipe so that you have it, should you be dissatisfied with your results.
The second time I was determined to beat it, and beat it good. Unfortunately I may have beaten it a little too much, which is why I have ended up with something between fudge and tablet (which my mum informs me you do beat until it is so stiff you can hardly move the spoon through it).
However much you beat it, it is still tasty.
According to one website I saw autumn doesn’t officially start until 23rd September, but I don’t think it is ever too early to get into pumpkin spice lattes. Let’s face it, the kids have gone back to school so it is only a matter of time before spiced lattes appear in Starbucks and Christmas items appear in the shops. The leaves are already starting to turn and we have to turn the lights on by 8pm, so it is definitely time for spiced coffee drinks.
Even if they do come in solid sugary confection form.
Make this, put some in a small bag in your pocket and go for a long walk in the woods, kicking the leaves as you go. The perfect start to autumn.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Fudge-Let
- 50g unsalted butter
- 500g golden caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 150ml double cream (heavy cream)
- 135ml whole milk
- 1 tsp pumpkin spice mix, or ground mixed spice
- 2 tsp instant espresso powder
- Line a 7 inch square non-stick baking tin with baking parchment.
- Put the butter, sugar, cream and milk in a large pan. Heat gently over a very low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Check the mixture by stirring it with a wooden spoon, remove the spoon and check the back of it for any sugar granules which should be visible if the sugar hasn’t fully dissolved.
- Put a sugar thermometer into the pan and turn up the heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Simmer until the mixture reaches 116 Celsius / 241 Fahrenheit. Do not leave it unattended.
- As soon as the temperature has been reached, remove the pan from the heat and leave it to cool to 110 Celsius / 230 Fahrenheit. Add the spices and the coffee powder and mix in with a wooden spoon.
- Continue to beat the mixture until it is no longer glossy and has thickened a little.
- Pour into the prepared tin and leave to cool completely.
- Cut into squares once set.
Should your fudge-let be unpleasantly grainy once it has set, don’t panic, you can have another go without throwing your first attempt in the bin and wasting ingredients. Put the fudge in a large pan with one and a half cups of water. Place over a low heat and allow the fudge to slowly dissolve, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Once the fudge has dissolved turn up the heat and continue from step 3 above. The fudge will be a little darker than it was initially because the sugar will have caramelised further, but the taste will be unaffected.
© The Pink Rose Bakery
Recipe adapted from Gingerbread Latte Fudge.