In recognition of International Fudge Day – which is celebrated on Thursday, June 16 – here are some fun facts as well as two very different – yet very tasty - recipes from the chef lecturers at Capsicum Culinary Studio.
The Americans claim fudge as their invention and say the popular confectionery dates back to the late 1880s when Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, a student at Vassar College in New York, wrote that a schoolmate’s cousin had made fudge in Baltimore and sold it for 40 cents a pound. She obtained the recipe, which consisted of four ingredients – sugar, cream, unsweetened chocolate and butter, and made 15 kilograms of it for a university auction.
Word of the sweet treat spread to other women’s colleges and different versions of the original recipe appeared with added ingredients such as marshmallows, molasses and vanilla extract.
Some think the recipe was in fact copied from the Scots who were making a similar confectionery called “tablet” in the early 18th century and which consisted of sugar, condensed milk and butter.
The record for the largest slab of fudge in the world weighed over 2 600 kilograms and was crafted at the Northwest Fudge Factory in Ontario, Canada in 2010. Preparation took a week and contained vanilla, chocolate and maple flavours.
Mackinac Island, a tiny 9,8km² island in Michigan in the US, considers itself the fudge capital of the world with 14 fudge shops in the town with the oldest dating back to 1887. The island churns out over 4 535kgs of fudge daily during peak season and fudge makers ship in about 10 tons of sugar and 10 tons of butter to create and craft their products. Festivalgoers are referred to as “fudgies”.
Mamie Eisenhower, the wife of the 34th US President, Ike Eisenhower, was a huge fudge fan and even crafted her own recipe, Mamie’s Million-Dollar Fudge, which included chopped nuts and marshmallows.
While there are literally hundreds of recipes out there, here are two very unique ones from the chefs at Capsicum Culinary Studio.
Bacon & Banana Fudge
450g caster sugar
400ml double cream
1 tbsp glucose syrup
1 tbsp mashed banana
2 rashers streaky bacon, grilled until crispy then shredded
Line a 19 x 9 x 6cm loaf tin with baking paper. Tip the sugar, cream, butter and glucose syrup into a medium saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar and melt the butter, stirring constantly. Once dissolved, increase the heat and bring the syrup to a steady boil. Keep bubbling, stirring occasionally to stop the sugar from catching, until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage (whereby a teaspoon of hot syrup is dropped into a bowl of very cold water and forms a soft ball). Remove the pan from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Stir in a good pinch of salt, then beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until the fudge thickens and loses its glossy shine. Stir in the mashed banana then quickly pour the fudge into the prepared tin, banging the tin gently on the countertop to smooth the surface. Sprinkle the cooked bacon over the and leave to cool down overnight. (Don’t put it in the fridge as it will become sticky and won’t set properly.) Cut into bite-sized pieces.
Boozy Fudge (for over 18s only!)
125g salted butter, plus extra for the tin
397g can condensed milk
460g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp coffee liqueur (Kahlua, Amarula or Amaretto also works well)
Butter and line a 20cm square tin with baking paper. Put the butter, condensed milk and sugar and milk in a large saucepan over a low heat. Stir continuously until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to the boil for 10 mins, stirring all the time until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (whereby a teaspoon of hot syrup is dropped into a bowl of very cold water and forms a soft ball). Remove from the heat and add the coffee liqueur and vanilla extract, then beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until it thickens. Pour into the prepared tin and bang the tin gently on the countertop to smooth the surface. Leave to set then cut into squares. Will keep for up to three weeks in an airtight container but it will probably get eaten within 24 hours!
At Capsicum Culinary Studio we are all about the food, and fuelling culinary passions is at the heart of what we do. If you want to achieve your food dreams, be sure to attend our upcoming open days to see what we have to offer and what student life looks like at the campus you’ll be attending when you join the Capsicum family.
The next Open Day will be held at all Capsicum Culinary Studio’s six campusres – Boksburg, Cape Town, Durban, Nelson Mandela Bay, Pretoria and Rosebank, Johannesburg – on Saturday, June 25, from 08h00 to 12h00.
For more information on Capsicum Culinary Studio, visit https://www.capsicumcooking.com/