- Food & Drink
Whisky and cream, a traditional Christmas pairing ever since Baileys was bottled
This, of course, would be a mistake.
Nobody wants a jar of chutney that you’ve cobbled together out of the remains your salad drawer, or a bottle of ‘Yuletide’ vodka that you’ve filled with dried fruits and spice cupboard sweepings. They want cashmere bed socks, bath oils that smell like a summer night in the South of France, bags of freshly roasted coffee, fine china cups painted with songbirds and bars of gold (yes, this is what is going on my list to Father Christmas. I have been very good this year).
No, a box of misshapen chocolate truffles will not cut it. But if you are determined to go down the path of making people things, then let me help you. And my help, as ever, consists of applying booze to the situation.
I made this fudge for a party because I needed something sweet and gluten-free to hand round after dinner, and also because we have an astonishing amount of Jack Daniels in the house. I don’t know where it’s coming from, but bottles of it keep popping up in cupboards and on shelves, as if some sort of Tennessee Whisky Fairy is running regular emergency drops to our home.
Drinking the JD was an option. It’s always an option. But beating great big sloshes of it into boiling vats of cream and sugar just seemed like more fun.
Whisky & Cream Fudge
Makes absolutely loads
650g caster sugar
600ml double cream
50g salted butter
Whisky of your choice, to taste
Place the sugar, cream and butter in a heavy based saucepan – I use a shallow, cast iron casserole dish for this. Gently stir and heat it till the sugar melts and you have a nice, pale golden liquid.
Turn the heat up and bring it to the boil. Steadily boil the mixture for around 15-20 minutes till it reaches the soft ball stage. You should avoid stirring the fudge while it boils if you can, as this will make it grainy, but keep your eye on it and give it a stir if you think there is a chance it is catching and burning.
If you’re using a sugar thermometer, the temperature you want to hit is 118-120°C. I use the old-fashioned method of a glass of cold water and drop small spoonfuls of the mix in till it forms a soft, squishy ball in the water that flattens when I lift it out in my hand.
Take the fudge off the heat. Let it cool for around 10 minutes (if you have a thermometer, watch it till it hits 50°C). Add a little splash of whisky and beat it in with a wooden spoon. Keep adding little splashes of whisky and beating it in – around 4-5 tbsp should do it. Then carry on beating the fudge (or, at least, stirring vigorously) for another 10-15 minutes till it’s thick.
Line a tin – a brownie pan is a good size for this – with greaseproof paper. Do this as neatly as possible and you’ll have fewer wrinkly edges to trim off when you come to slice it (unless lots of trimmings for you to eat is what you’re after).
Pour the fudge into the tin. Let it sit for a few hours to firm up. It won’t be a rock solid set, so if you want it to be a little bit firmer, bung it in the fridge. Turn it out and slice into chunks. In theory it will keep for a few days in an airtight container, but I can’t say for certain. I’ve made it twice and it’s never made it past the 24 hour mark.