This hideously nice but naughty recipe finally gave me a chance to use my long forgotten sugar thermometer. I bought it on the internet, some 5 years or so ago after deciding on a whim to make coconut ice however I just never got around to making said coconut ice.. it just goes to show those simplifying perfectionist websites who say clear stuff out after a year were lying, hoarding is just fine by me. This recipe is also a prime example of if you fail, you just dust yourself off and try again. A good life lesson too...
I do now have yet another 'tester' in the form of my brothers flatmate who has willingly pledged to try any more fudge varieties I might care to make...as you can see from this plate there was not much left after I had taken a batch of this Pecan and Ginger Fudge to his house, still warm in the baking tray in order to give my dad a bagful for Fathers Day! One happy dad too!
Recently I've switched to working a regular hour job and now have weekends.. at least for now anyway... Something strange and a novelty after 5 years of shift work and find myself now alone most weekends in the kitchen.. its proving dangerous for my waistline! Anyway for some reason I was sitting around googling random stuff on Saturday afternoon and remembered I had bought some crystalised ginger a few weeks to make a cake recipe I have culled from a magazine, and dug it out... however it was from our upstairs larder/ hall cupboard/ storage room and right next to it by chance was a tin of condensed milk I had bought on a whim, and at that moment it screamed fudge to me.... Though after checking online it turns out I was thinking of Nigella’s chocolate fudge but I had just used nearly all my chocolate supplies in making Rocky Road (to follow!) and needed another option and stumbled across Carnations website, admittedly my tin was not Carnation branded but they did have a promising sounding fudge recipe on their site, and I had nothing better to do and decided to make my first batch!
Oh my, arm strength is good here. Not something I have or will ever achieve. My first batch without the thermometer was not quite thick enough and I had to reboil it later for which I made my boyfriend do! He was quite fascinated how the texture changed during cooking and I think it made him appreciate the workings of the kitchen a little bit more! The optimum temperature was above 118o Celsius for the record however on the successful batch I waited till 120o to be certain!
The flavour combination of Pecan and Ginger came about as whilst I didn’t end up using the crystalised ginger, I opted for stem ginger instead to make a bit more punchy! And as regulars know by now I love pecans soo much!! For my first ever batch I am super chuffed with the final result! Crunchy sweet pecans, fragrant ginger to just hum and not overwhelm the fudge flavour - it was a real winner! Though just next time I might not just reboil it and have to make brownies with it instead, which was suggested for fudge that doesn't set! Yum!
Now it depends what size bits of fudge you want but I used a traybake tin and the fudge was just under a centimetre in height. Prepare your tin by dotting a little oil or butter and lining fully with baking paper. It will cut maybe about 60 little pieces. Which vanish very fast. Sad times is the empty tupperware last night. I think we are both fridge pickers (and as the saying goes fridge pickers wear bigger knickers!!)
1 tin sweetened condensed milk (397g)
400g Demerara sugar
115g unsalted butter
16 pecan nuts
2 balls stem ginger
1 tbsp stem ginger syrup
In a heavy based saucepan heat the butter, sugar, milks and gently bring to the boil, keep stirring (a silicon spoon is fab here!) and on a gentle boil keep on stirring until *very* thick, about 15 minutes, then remove from the heat onto a cool surface and carry on beating until its quite actually hard to beat any further and its kinda solid but just about pourable – my temperature was at 120o Celsius.
Transfer into the baking tin quickly and smooth over. Allow to cool fully in the tin before slicing into desired shapes. Then tie hands behind back to prevent further testing.
Notes: If like mine first time it was still to soft, re-boil with 2 tbsp of evaporated milk and use a thermometer. My ‘soft ball’ stage was a complete fail! I ended up with lots of glasses filled with sweet water.
Warning: hot sugar fudge mix is very, very hot! Do not attempt any licking of fingers here!
And oh how we loved this fudge! Crumbly a little, sweet enough to be magical and the little pecan bursts with sweet ginger pockets was quite, well er heavenly!