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Monday, 25 November 2013

Scottish Vanilla Tablet

Well, I failed again to post twice this week.  It all seemed so promising when I posted my recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but that was two weeks ago, and time has flown by. Apologies for those of you that check my blog to see the latest update, I know its a pain when nothing seems to change for a long time. 

Todays recipe is a little bit of a change from the norm and it all started when my dear friend Kate requested the use of my hob (yes I did say hob...)  Her attempts at making this Scottish favourite have failed due to a malfunctioning cooker hob and when she asked if she could visit this Sunday and make this sweet treat my answer was long as I can blog about it!

Tablet, or I suppose you could also call it crumbly fudge, is a classic sweet developed in Scotland in the early 18th century.  Normally flavoured with vanilla, whisky or nuts this very sugary treat has a crumbly texture and melts as you eat it.  Ingredient wise its very simple - sugar, condensed milk and butter (with added flavour) but its the technique which is the challenge and without care can result in dangerous burns or as Kate found out liquid that just won't set (or even freeze).   

Make sure you use a large, tall sided, pan.  I used my pasta pot as this has tall sides and very good heat dissipation.  Be-careful when adding the milk as the liquid bubbles up high.  A good quality candy thermometer is a must for this recipe, don't bother without unless you are a dab-hand at making sugar based sweets and know what a hard-boil looks like.

Cut up in to small squares this sweet is perfect for giving away as a present and since Christmas is on the way it may be something I make a number of times.  

Scottish Tablet

55g unsalted butter
250ml semi-skimmed milk
900g white granulated sugar 
375g (can) condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

23cm square tin (lined) or 23cm round silicon tin (no need to line silicon)

SAFETY WARNING: You are dealing with HOT sticky mixture here...I would not recommend this one for children and just be very careful yourself.  If you are careful you have nothing to worry about.

In a large pan, with tall sides, melt the butter in to the milk.  Add the sugar and whisk to combine.  Bring to the boil and cook for 4 minutes.  Don't be worried if the mixture raises quickly, if your pan is tall it will not overflow.  



Pour in the condensed milk and whisk.  The mixture should return to its normal level.  At this point place a candy thermometer in the pan.  Bring to the boil and reduce the temp to med-high.  You want a rapid boil but not full. 

Set a timer for 14 minutes.  Whisk the mixture every so often but as the timer gets closer to 0 you should whisk more as this is the point when burning may start to happen.

When the mixture reaches 120C (hard ball) continue to cook until the timer runs out.

Off the heat you need to whisk while it cools.  This is hard work and can take up to 5 minutes.  The mixture will thicken.  After 5 minutes beat in the vanilla, then beat a bit more!


Mix again and by this point your mixture should start to set around the edges of the pan.  At this point its ready to transfer to the tin.

Leave to set for 10 minutes and then cut with a knife while still in the pan.  

Leave to cool totally before dividing up in to chunks.  A little of this goes a long way!