Well, the festive season is rapidly approaching and it’s high time I came up with some suitably-themed posts!
So here are a couple of recipes for making treats that are perfect to give as gifts, as well as keeping all to yourself. NB For the best possible texture to your finished fudge, a sugar thermometer or therma-pen is necessary.
See also: Sea-Foam Fudge
Mince Pie Fudge
I love the intense fruits/spicy/boozy/citrus flavour of mincemeat, especially since I started making the vegetarian/vegan/fat-free/no-added-sugar mincemeat inspired by a recipe from Hannah Glasse. However much I love the flaky, buttery-ness of a puff pastry mince pie – FYI, it’s a LOT – sometimes, I just want to enjoy the filling.
Since it would be undignified to spoon it straight from the jar – *poker face* not that I’d ever do that – I thought that making it into fudge would be an ideal way for a handy-sized hit of festive cheer.
This recipe is a variation of the only fudge recipe you’ll ever need – and an adaption of the aforementioned mincemeat recipe. There is less liquid and more spices, in order for their flavours to survive being added to the hot fudge mixture.
For the mincemeat
90g mixed candied peel, sliced thinly
130g of flaked or slivered almonds and pistachios
150g mixed raisins, sultanas, cranberries and chopped apricots
juice & grated rind of an orange
juice & grated rind of a lemon
½tsp ground ginger
½tsp grated nutmeg,
½tsp ground cinnamon
½tsp ground mixed spice
¼tsp ground cloves
- Put the sherry, brandy, lemon and orange juice, dried fruits and spices into a small pan.
- Stir gently to combine and set pan over the lowest possible heat.
- Cover and let the mixture stew gently until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- The mixture should be moist, but with no liquid visible in the bottom.
- Mix in the zests, nuts and candied peel and set aside.
For the fudge
1 x 397ml tin of sweetened, condensed milk
450g Demerera sugar
- Line a rectangular baking pan with parchment. Personally, I use a pan 30cm by 24cm
- Put all of the ingredients into a pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to the boil and stir continuously until it registers between 118°C and 120°C on a thermometer dipped into the centre of the pan. Make sure the tip of the thermometer doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan, as this will be much hotter and the thermometer will thus give a false reading.
- When your fudge reaches temperature, remove from the heat and allow the bubbles to settle. Pour into your stand mixer and use the beating paddle (not the whisk) to beat slowly for at least five minutes, to cool the fudge.
- When the mixture has cooled and thickened, add the soaked fruit, nuts and peel and stir to combine.
- When it is thick and still just pourable, tip it into your parchment-lined tin and smooth over.
- Leave to cool completely.
- When cold, cut into cubes with a sharp knife and store in an airtight box.
Creamy Vanilla Fudge
The sweetened, condensed milk recipe above can satisfy 99% of your fudge-related requirements: the texture is excellent, it is easily flavoured with a range of simple additions, and even ‘plain’ is delicious.
However, everything can be improved on, if your palate is demanding enough, and so if plain and unadorned pure flavours are your thing, then this is the recipe for you. If the above recipe is the regular champagne of fudge recipes, then this recipe is vintage. I have adapted it from a recipe published online by Nick Dudley-Jones, reducing the sugar slightly and merely adding detail where his recipe was more free-spirited.
The quality of the ingredients is what sets this recipe aside, so be sure to use the very best you can get your hands on and you will reap your just rewards.
600g caster sugar
500ml double cream
50g unsalted butter
10g liquid glucose
1 vanilla pod or 1-2tsp good quality vanilla paste
75g good quality white chocolate – chopped
- Line a rectangular, 30cm by 24cm baking pan with parchment.
- Put the sugar, cream, butter and glucose into a thick-bottomed pan.
- Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds.
- Put the seeds and the pod into the pan with the rest of the ingredients.
- Heat the ingredients gently until the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Raise the heat and bring to a rolling boil, stirring all the time.
- Continue stirring and cook until the mixture reaches 118-120°C.
- Remove from the heat.
- When the bubbles have subsided, fish out the vanilla pod.
- Pour the fudge into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat slowly for 5 minutes to cool and grain the mixture.
- After 5 minutes, slowly add in the chopped chocolate, pausing between each addition until it has melted.
- Continue to beat the mixture slowly until it thickens. This will take a further 7-10 minutes. The texture should be similar to marshmallow fluff/putty/uncooked sponge cake mixture (pick whichever of those analogies is most recognisable to you).
- Spoon/pour the mixture into your parchment-lined tin and smooth over.
- Set aside and allow to cool at room temperature for 3-4 hours.
- Chill if liked for extra firmness and to achieve razor-clean cuts when dividing it up.
- Cut into cubes with a sharp knife and store in an airtight box.
- If you can exercise the self-control, the flavour of this fudge is best if first allowed to mature for 24 hours, which gives the flecks of vanilla seeds time to release their aromas.