I found that a large tub of double cream that I had bought was about to go out of date. Or at least reach its ‘best by’ date. So, in an effort not to waste the cream I decided to find something that I could ‘knock up’ fairly simply. What I chose was vanilla fudge, from a recipe on BBC Good Food .
It is a little bit of a chore to make, with having to ensure the ingredients reach a particular temperature, and then cooling, and stirring etc. But the end result turned out quite well. I dont have a sugar thermometer, so had to improvise with a probe thermometer, and it did the job well enough, though I was holding in a gloved hand, in case the mixture exploded as it boiled.
That is a word of warning, this recipe requires the mixture to be boiling and as it is full of sugar you must be very careful not to use too small a pan, or it will boil over and can do a lot of harm if it comes into contact with your skin.
The results of my efforts were very good, a lovely sweet fudge, with a vanilla taste. Though, of course, it is very heavy in calories, so not a good idea to eat too much at a time. Luckily it keeps well in an airtight container.
- 450g golden caster sugar
- 400g double cream
- 50g butter
- 1 tbsp glucose syrup
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- Line a 20 x 20cm cake tin with baking parchment. Tip the sugar, cream, butter and glucose syrup into a medium to large saucepan. Heat to dissolve the sugar and melt the butter, stirring now and again.
- Once dissolved, put a sugar thermometer in the pan, making sure the end is completely covered by the syrup – if not, transfer the mixture to a smaller pan (with enough space for the syrup to bubble up). Increase the heat and bring the syrup to a steady boil. Keep bubbling, stirring occasionally to stop the sugar from catching, until the mixture reaches 116C – this is known as the soft ball stage.
- Remove the pan from the heat and leave to sit, undisturbed, for 5 mins, until the temperature drops to 110C. Stir in the vanilla and a good pinch of salt.
- Keep the sugar thermometer in the pan and begin beating the mixture with a wooden spoon, quite vigorously, until the temperature cools to about 60C. By this time the fudge will be really thick and will have lost it glossy shine. Remove the thermometer and continue beating for a few mins more. This process is very important when making fudge, as it creates small sugar crystals, which give the fudge its lovely smooth and creamy texture (see ‘fudge know-how’, below).
- Before it sets completely, quickly pour the fudge into your prepared tin and smooth over the surface. Leave to cool at room temperature overnight – don’t put the fudge in the fridge as it will become sticky and won’t set properly. Cut into bite-sized pieces and pop in a box to give as a present. Will keep, in a sealed container, for up to 2 months.