Fudging it – True Confessions

burfi:

We all have a few regrets in life. Allow me to share with you a nagging one that won’t go away.

It concerns a printing error in my second cookbook Cooking with Kurma. During pre-production, Philip Little, our art designer, inadvertently sliced off a major ingredient as he re-arranged text while putting the finishing touches to a photo insert.

I had already done my last page check, and the book went to print suggesting that our Almond Toffee Fudge be set by adding, and I quote 1/2 cups powdered milk. The actual amount was 3 1/2 cups, but Philip had lost the 3 as he moved text to fit over the space we had left on the photograph.

The mistake was especially regretful since I had given the recipe such an enthusiastic promotion.

Subsequent reprints of the book have been unable to tackle the delicate fix. So the error has remained to this day. Dozens of perplexed readers have written to me over the years wondering why the fudge never set. I was happy to explain the error. But to all those frustrated readers who never did write, I dedicate this blog.

ALMOND TOFFEE FUDGE

I can honestly say that I’ve cooked more fudge than any other one preparation in my quarter-century kitchen career. Different versions of the same basic recipe, often prepared in 2,000-5,000 piece batches, have been devoured with delight at innumerable expos, food fairs, alternative life-style events and catering programs. I’ve supplied the recipe hundreds of times to “fudgeaholics”.

Here’s the original almond variety, immortalised in print. You should know that the best-tasting fudge requires top quality unsalted butter, premium quality cream and, most important, full-fat powdered milk.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: about 30 minutes,
YIELD: about 50 pieces of fudge.

250g good quality unsalted butter (I prefer Danish style),
1 1/2 cups raw sugar,
1 cup pouring consistency pure cream,
1 cup whole unblanched almonds, oven-roasted or fried, and very coarsely chopped,
about 3 1/2 cups full cream powdered milk,
extra toasted, crushed, slivered, flaked or whole almonds for decorating the surface of the fudge (optional).

Gently melt the butter in a heavy 5-litre/quart saucepan over low heat. Add the sugar, increase the heat to moderate and, stirring constantly, cook for about 3 minutes or until the sugar melts into the butter and becomes frothy.

Cook for a few minutes more until it develops a light caramel colour. The caramelised sugar will give off a light toffee fragrance. Be careful to avoid over-darkening the sugar at this point; excess caramelisation will give the fudge a bitter flavour. The butter will probably be completely separated from the caramelised sugar at this stage, but that’s normal.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool for 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and nuts. Using a wire whisk, gradually mix in the powdered milk a little at a time, whisking vigorously to avoid forming any lumps. When the mixture just hangs onto the whisk, it is ready. If it reaches this stage before you’ve added all the powdered milk, don’t add any more. If it’s still too runny after adding it all, add a little more.

Very lightly butter a 25cm-30cm (10-inch – 12-inch) tray. With a spatula, scrape the hot fudge mixture into the tray. Smooth it out and sprinkle the top with the optional nuts. Allow the fudge to set in a cool place for 1 hour. Cut into approximately 3.75cm(1-inch) squares, and stand back.

Posted by Kurma on 6/4/11; 7:32:17 AM

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