Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cooking the Book – The River Cottage Family Cookbook – Honey Fudge

I picked up my copy of the River Cottage Family Cookbook when I was last in Memphis. Sure it’s a cookbook aimed towards children, but in true Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall fashion, it’s a hefty tome of culinary secrets. When I was thumbing through the section on sugar & honey, a picture of fudge caught my eye.


The description is what really sold me on the idea of honey fudge: “This is a lovely recipe because it shows that the choice between honey and sugar isn’t always an “either,or.” In this case it’s a “both,and.”

It starts very simply with 4 cups of sugar, a 12oz can of evaporated milk (Whittinstall calls for a 13 oz can, but they don’t sell them like that in the US), and ½ cup of water being put into a pan.


Once all that had dissolved, it was time to add a few more ingredients.

¼ cup of honey and a pinch of salt are added to the pot. I used honey from Lamar, MS. It’s always nice to use something local.


From there the plan was to raise the mixture to a boil and wait till it reached 241 degrees F, unfortunately, I had to switch to a bigger pan midway.

With the bigger pan, it was just keeping an eye on the candy thermometer and stirring every half minute or so.


When I saw the picture of the fudge, I was expecting it to come out like the book, a nice light brown.


Very light


Darker

Darker still

By the time it had reached 241 and had a chance to cook, it was a rich, but very dark brown.


Next, I added 7 tablespoons of butter to the mix.

The idea is to stir vigorously and the butter will mix into the syrup.


It sort of mixed in. A minute or so in, it seemed like I was trying to add oil to water.


Per the instructions, once the mixture was grainy I poured it into a waiting, butter pan.

I greatly overestimated how much fudge this would make, but when I tried to spread the fudge, it began to form clumps. I decided to leave well enough alone and cut squares anyway.


Regardless of the odd appearance, this was a delicious dessert. I was expecting the honey to be completely masked by the overabundance of sugar but it shone through brilliantly. I shouldn’t be surprised. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall does amazing work with his cookbooks, and his recipes almost always perform flawlessly. I’ll have to cook from his books more often.


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