I recently bought a new kitchen thermometer so I could have a go at making some cheese. I'd started to a do a bit of reading on the subject and it turns out temperature is a very important part of the process, how you heat the milk and then the curds playing a vital role in what the finished product is like, what cheese it turns into basically. My first attempts have been promising but as yet not worthy of a blog post, I have been using the thermometer to publishable effect though with this fudge.
When working with sugar, for making caramels and other sweet delights, as you boil away liquid evaporates and as this happens the temperature within your saucepan slowly rises. As with the curds how far you take it alters the finished product, what you will be left with once it has cooled. Around 108C-118C will give you a soft finish, perfect for candied fruit, take it to 118C-120C and you enter the soft ball stage and this is where you want to be for fudge. Beyond that you've got firm ball, soft crack, hard crack and caramel but I've not been brave enough to push it that far yet.
Sea salt sweets have been pretty fashionable for a while now and one of my favourites is a sea salt fudge from Borough Market. I've no idea how expensive it is but I'm pretty sure it's way more than this costs, although once you see what goes into it you might like your consumption to be limited by price - this is not a health food. It is seriously moreish, rich and sweet but with the salt acting as a savoury balance, not to mention flavour enhancer. I could have eaten this all very quickly (and there's probably 650gr of it when ready) but I thought I'd save the arteries and so took it into the office to slowly kill off a few colleagues instead. It didn't last long there.
Sea Salt Fudge Recipe
300ml Double Cream
360gr Caster Sugar
35gr Unsalted Butter
2/3ts sea salt flakes + 1/2ts sea salt flakes for topping
1 ts vanilla extract
If after seeing those ingredients you still want to make it, read on.
First off prepare the loaf tin (a standard size) which the fudge will cool in. If it's metal then oil the tin and lay a sheet of greaseproof paper across the middle so you can pull the fudge out. If it's silicone then just give it a light oiling, you can pop this stuff out of silicone very easily.
Place the cream, sugar, butter, water and the 2/3 ts of salt into a saucepan and bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer, stirring pretty much constantly so it doesn't stick, until the temperature reaches 118 C - this will take anywhere from 15-25 minutes. I noticed that as mine reached that required temp it started to get a lot thicker and come 118 C I had to continuously stir very quickly to stop it boiling over. If you don't have a thermometer then you can determine if you are the correct temperature - the aforementioned soft ball stage - by dropping some of the mixture into a small bowl of very cold water, the resultant ball will be soft and squidgy when you are at the right temperature.
Take off the heat, add the vanilla essence and beat the mixture for a couple of minutes with your wooden spoon until it goes paler in colour. Pour into the prepared loaf tin, quickly smooth the surface then leave to cool at room temperature, after it has firmed up a little you can sprinkle the remaining salt on top.
Once cool remove from the loaf tin and cut into 2.5cm squares.