About a month ago I went to a baking seminar with a friend and was given 11 tins of evaporated milk by the sponsor. To my knowledge I have never drunk or eaten evaporated milk and I've certainly never used it myself. I got it in my head that I could probably make fudge with it and, although it turns out evaporated milk is not generally used in fudge, I went ahead with a bit of experimental candy making nonetheless.
I have expanded my kitchen equipment so that I now have a very basic set of scales and a small baking tray (I'm definitely moving up in the world!). Of course there is still a distinct lack of a sugar thermometer and the scales are not exactly precise so I wasn't really expecting a success...
But it worked! Well I mean I made something .... I'm reluctant to call this fudge because it's not the crumbly type of fudge that I would call 'proper fudge'. It's more like the stuff you get inside a Cadbury Fudge bar (remember those?) so not quite 'proper' but still sweet and buttery :)
Considering my basic equipment and the fact I largely ignored all the recipes I found, I'm quite pleased with how this turned out. And hey there's always the other 10 tins ...…
300g caster sugar*
300ml evaporated milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 pinches of salt
*I reduced the sugar content by 50g because I used evaporated milk but I think that may have affected the texture which is not like true fudge.
- Line and grease a small baking tray or cake tin (I didn't line mine and the fudge was difficult to get out).
- Put the sugar, milk and butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter and sugar have dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil and stir constantly. The mixture should look like it's about to grow into a fudge monster and escape from the bowl (but not actually do that!) and make sure you keep stirring.
- Keep boiling until the mixture reaches soft-ball stage. If you have a candy thermometer this is 118C but as I don't I checked by dropping a tiny amount of mixture into a bowl of water. When the mixture forms a ball soft enough to press, it is ready. For me this took 25 minutes but I would start checking after about 15 minutes.
- Once the mixture has reached soft-ball stage remove from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Then add the salt and vanilla extract and beat for a few minutes. (according to James Martin you are supposed to beat until the mixture thickens and loses it's gloss. I forgot about this so I'm not sure how important it is but it may give you a better texture)
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tray or tin and leave to set at room temperature. (Once it had set I cut it and kept it in the fridge but if you live somewhere cooler and less humid than Thailand it might not be necessary!)
- Don't eat it all at once! (No, really don't, you'll be sick!)