Sunrise: 9:20 AM
Sunset: 1:36 PM
Temperature: – 1.9°C
I made some fudge yesterday. Vanilla fudge, of the old-fashioned kind. And really, I have no idea what it even means – old-fashioned fudge – but I saw it somewhere and liked the sound of it.
Old-fashioned. Perhaps, with more ingredients than your standard condensed milk recipe. Perhaps, it’s the cream and sugar. Or the way it’s left to bubble on the stove to the lightest shade of gold.
In any case, I’m going with it. And the things it pushes us to reminisce about.
We left it to cool on the kitchen counter as we put on boots and wrapped ourself in warm sweaters. The road to Umeå was like a winter dream. Thousands of trees lined the salted asphalt. The bright winter sun warmed the blue hour into a golden one.
Not for long though; by the time we arrived at the Christmas market, it had already started to set. Leaving place to the candle-lights that Swedes seem to be so fond of. I am too, really.
On the way back, we might have picked up a julgran [Christmas tree] and spent the evening decorating it with Christmas songs and glögg. Oh and many vintage glass ornaments. But that’s another story for another time.
Adapted from this recipe by Phil Carnegie.
Growing up, fudge was always one of those mysteries. You know, the kind of food you’d heard about and yet never tasted. Because, in France, the closest thing we’d ever had was caramels au beurre salé [salted caramels]. Soft and chewy, except for the occasional flake of sea salt. With a smoothness that almost melts on the tongue.
I think I might have had my first bite of fudge in Canada. Right before we went to see the Niagara falls. I remember how the bus pulled by the road. With a fudge stand for only sight. I might be wrong, but we filled a brown paper bag with chunky pieces that lasted us through our entire trip.
There was this vanilla fudge. Slightly brown and with not a seed of vanilla to be seen. But it was my favourite. So I guess, that’s what I meant with the whole “old-fashioned”.
And now, more than ten years later, we’re in the north again. And here in Sweden, fudge appears on every julbord [Christmas table]. The julgodis [Christmas candies] tradition isn’t going anywhere. And perhaps, if I have time, we should go through all of them.
But for now, vanilla fudge. Old-fashioned or not.
I like to use homemade vanilla sugar for this as it gives the fudge an old-fashioned look with it’s many specks of vanilla; and a beautiful flavour.
Homemade vanilla sugar is one of those things I always have in the cupboard. And really, I think you should too. It’s very simple to make. Collect your used vanilla pods as you go (rinse them under warm water if they’ve been infusing cream or other dairy products) and keep them in an open jar for them to dry. When you have around 8-10 pods, bake them at 100°C for 30 minutes to get rid of any leftover moisture, then blitz them with 100g of caster sugar into a thin powder. Transfer to a 1L-jar and add another 700-800g of caster sugar. Close the jar with a lid and shake well. Voilà!
Makes a 20x20cm slab, around 40 pieces.
250 g double cream (whipping cream also works but I’ve found it makes a softer fudge)
300 g caster
75 g homemade vanilla sugar
75 g glucose syrup
75 g unsalted butter
1 heaped tsp of sea salt
300 g good white chocolate, finely chopped
Prepare a 20x20cm tin by oiling it lightly and lining it with baking paper. Set aside.
Place the cream, sugars, glucose syrup, butter, and salt in a pan larger than you’d think you need. Bring to the boil over medium heat, and then whisking at all times, cook the cream to 118°C.
Take the pan off the heat, and beat in the white chocolate using a heat-resistant silicon spatula (or a wooden spoon).
Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and allow to cool down completely at room temperature for at least 12 hours.
Remove the vanilla fudge from the pan and place onto a chopping board. Cut into 3x3cm cubes, using a large knife. If you’re into sharper edges (I’m not, at least at home), wipe your knife clean in between each slices.