Friday, 27 May 2011

Russian fudge

I love fudge - the sugary kind, not the one with the creamy texture. Fudge is the one treat I am guaranteed to buy at the fair. There's nothing quite like fair fudge!

My mother used to bake a fair bit while we were growing up but never made fudge. One night, while she was out, Dad and I decided to give it a go. How hard could it be to make chocolate fudge? We found a recipe and started heating ingredients up in a pot.

Things didn't look quite right and we couldn't figure out why. Mum arrived home, not impressed that we'd started baking in her clean kitchen while she was out ... and we were obviously doing something wrong. She took the pot and started stirring. Hmm. It still didn't look right. She decided to 'check' the fudge by poking her right index finger into the mixture. WTF??!

Here is a summary of the events that happened next:
  • There was a loud scream. Several, actually.
  • Mum's finger was quickly removed from the pot of boiling sugar and put under a running cold tap.
  • More screaming and a fair bit of swearing. Dad and I were told off. Mum put her finger back under the water. [Repeat several times.]
  • Mum eventually moved her finger to a glass filled with ice cubes. The ice cubes melted. [Repeat a few more times.]
  • Around 11 pm, Dad is ordered to bring Mum to A&E. The latest ice cubes in the glass melt before she even gets into the car. Cue: more screaming and swearing.
  • Mum arrives home with a large surgical bandage on her right index fingertip. She had entirely burned her fingerprint off.
  • Fudge is loudly declared as a banned food in our kitchen, never to be made again.
After a few days, Mum was allowed to take her bandage off to change the dressing. The skin had blistered and as the old layer of skin fell off in a single piece, so did her fingerprint. (It eventually grew back and stayed on permanently.) The thing is, to this day Mum will insist that it is our fault she burned her finger. Go figure.

I came across a recipe for Russian fudge on the Chelsea Sugar website earlier this week and felt brave enough to try making fudge for the first time since that fateful evening 25 years ago.

Russian fudge

  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 3 Tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200g sweetened condensed milk (half a standard tin)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  1. Place all the ingredients, except the vanilla essence, into a medium-heavy saucepan. Warm over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for about 15-20 minutes until it reaches the soft ball stage (120°C).
  2. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until the fudge is creamy and thick and has lost its gloss. Pour into a greased 20 cm cake pan. Score the top and break into pieces when cold.
The result? A yummy, sweet treat and, most importantly, no fingers were burned in the making of this fudge. Yay!

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