Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pumpkin Fudge

I've been itching to try this fudge recipe. Armed with a shiny new candy thermometer and a bunch of non-chocolate chips and marshmallow spackle, it was time to rock this fudge. Outside of the white morsel snafu and using fresh pumpkin puree rather than the stuff from a can, the only changes I made were minor tweaks just to help streamline things for me a little.

Pumpkin Fudge
from Southern Living
click to print

1 c pecans
3/4 c melted butter + more for greasing the foil
3 c sugar
2/3 c evaporated milk
1/2 c pumpkin puree
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (6:3:1:1 ratio of cinnamon:ginger:nutmeg:allspice)
1 (12-oz) package white morsels
1 (7-oz) jar marshmallow crème
1 tsp vanilla extract

Line 9x9" baking pan with aluminum foil; butter the foil.

Spread pecans evenly in a baking sheet and toast at 325°F for about 9 minutes until just darkened and slightly fragrant. Cool. Chop.

Chopping the nuts took about 1 second with this sucker.

Melt butter over low heat in a 3 1/2-4 1/2 quart saucepan over low heat.

The saucepan I used is 3.5 quarts. My next size up is 8 quarts.

Stir in sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, corn syrup, and pumpkin pie spice.

Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring almost constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.

First the thermometer went in, the mixture was just warming up, the color changed to yellow about 140°F, still wasn't boiling at 180°F though tiny bubbles are seen at the pan edges, slight color change at 204°F, and then boiling at 220°F. This took a total of 5 minutes.

Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 234° (soft-ball stage) .

Between 220 and 226°F the bubbles on the surface became larger, the consistency changed noticeably at 230°F, and the color gradually darkened until the temperature reached 234°F. This happened quickly, in about 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat; stir in white morsels, marshmallow creme, pecans, and vanilla extract until well blended.

Pour into prepared pan.

I could've stirred that a little more before pouring. The color should be uniform and mine was darker in the middle.

Let stand 2 hours or until completely cool. Roast a chicken while you wait. Cut fudge into squares.

One thing about cooking that I've come to realize is that in most cases it's magical. In some cases, the magic about a dish is not knowing how it's prepared. Fudge, for me, falls in the latter category.

Always connotated with holiday festivity, fudge was a pleasure reserved for a time of year when people gather and share in rarely prepared treats. Now I know fudge is piles of butter and sugar, boiled and cooled. Nearly effortless. It's reserved and kept as a treat not because it's a laborious day-long task like I'd always thought, but because there's enough sugar to put anyone into a coma. I expect to eat fudge daily for the rest of my life, making every day magical.

The texture was just fantastic. I'd accidentally left the heat on under the pan while I was adding the last three ingredients and fooling around with photos (resulting in my hastily stirred and unevenly colored fudge) which made me sweat bullets that it was ruined and the world would spin out of control. While a little bit more crumbly than the perfect fudge, it didn't taste burnt or scorched in any sort of overdone way.

Oh, and the uneven stirring resulted in chunks of morsels. Not all of them had time to melt completely. Be sure to stir, stir, stir. Be quick about it because this stuff starts setting up as soon as the heat is off. You can find out early how your fudge is by picking residual fudge from the thermometer and saucepan. Those fudgelets will be firm in minutes.

As for flavor, the pumpkin was subtle to me but other thought it was clearly pumpkin flavored. And it's really sweet. I mean, fudge is sweet, but this one gives me shivers. The nuts are an excellent addition and I think it's a mistake if you choose to omit them. As a matter of fact, I think I more would be better.


Total: $7.74 or about $0.12 for each of 64 pieces.