Making fudge as gifts at Christmas is one of those memories every childhood should have. It’s a bit hot and dangerous but as long as you remember that you are the adult in charge (or ask one for help) all should be well! I’ve added some spice, some fruit, a little chocolate and some Va Va Voom to my traditional fudge recipe to make this Christmas Pudding Fudge a real treat for the festive season. Bag it up in pretty packaging and give it to friends and family – if you can bear to see it leave!
Yes, I do realise that there is a lot of sugar in this recipe but you are not meant to scoff the lot in one sitting and it is intended to be a Christmas treat not an everyday lunchbox snack!
Christmas Pudding Fudge freezes really well so, if you have made too much and you can’t bear to be parted with it, pop it into a zip lock back and enjoy at your leisure. If you’re not freezing it, all that sugar means it will keep well for ten days to a fortnight in an airtight plastic container.
Fudge is a versatile thing – just think about all the flavours in the fudge shop windows of tourist towns throughout the land – so if you’re not a fan of Christmas Pudding flavours (I have a dried fruit hater in my house) you can replace the fruit with chocolate chips or nuts, change cinnamon for chilli or add salt for a sophisticated sweet treat!
Are you channelling your inner Willy Wonka? Why not have a go at making some:
- Christmassy decorations – I wanted to add some bling so my fudge was sprayed with gold shimmer spray and sprinkled with golden stars!
- A 20cm/8 inch square tin, lightly oiled with sunflower or vegetable oil – I line mine with baking parchment too because it is old and the non stick isn’t very non stick anymore plus it does make it easier to turn out if you have something to pull on!
- A sugar thermometer – not strictly speaking essential, but if you want your fudge to set it is a really, REALLY useful tool – I explain why in the method.
- 200 ml evaporated milk
- 450 g golden caster sugar
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 50 g dark chocolate
- 20 g raisins
- 20 g sultanas
- 20 g currants
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tbsp dark rum there’s that Va Va Voom! Optional for a grown up version
- If you are adding the Va Va Voom pour the rum over the dried fruit and leave it to soak while you make the fudge.
- Put the evaporated milk, butter, sugar, vanilla essence and orange blossom water in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. I use a deep pan for fudge making so it’s less likely to boil over or spit at me.
- Heat gently until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
- Increase the heat and bring the fudge to a gentle boil. Many recipes at this point tell you to cook your fudge for about ten minutes until it reaches ‘soft ball stage’ which is when it holds its shape when you drop a little drop into a glass of cold water – this is far too hit and miss for me. I want a smooth fudge with no crunchy sugar crystals so I use my faithful sugar thermometer and play it safe so…
- *Keep gently boiling your fudge until it reaches 115°C on a sugar thermometer. Turn off the heat. Do not stir it or you may well encourage those pesky crystals to form! Leave to cool without stirring for about 5 minutes.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and drop into your fudge, beat with a wooden spoon for about ten minutes until thick and glossy. Try not to incorporate any rogue crystals from the edge of your pan.
- Stir in your dried fruit and spices.
- Pour into the prepared tin, smooth gently with a spatula and leave to set.
- When the fudge is completely cold turn out onto a board and slice.
- Add your bling and enjoy!