Monday, December 20, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

An unassuming little fudge.  Pale orange if made with canned pumpkin, barely more orange than tan if made with fresh.   It has a mild pumpkin flavor with lovely spice notes.   Want to make some of your own?

If you haven't made fudge before you should start by reading this post on making chocolate fudge.   The process is the same no matter what kind of fudge you make. 

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

3 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
6 Tbs butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup light corn syrup*
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp vanilla

*If you are someone who does not like HFCS, you should know that you leave out the corn syrup at your own risk.  Corn syrup play a very important part in the candy making process.  Without it your candy is more likely to "sugar," or become granular and crumbly.   If you must omit the corn syrup, try adding 1/2 c water to the candy to lengthen the cooking process.  I do not recommend leaving out the corn syrup, especially if you are new to candy making.

Start by putting everything except the vanilla in a four quart sauce pan.   Stir it together with a wooden spoon.  Cook over medium heat with the lid on.   While it's cooking, test your candy thermometer in a pan of boiling water.  If it reads anything other than 212 degrees when the water is boiling, you will have to adjust your cooking time to compensate.  Either add or subtract from the final temperature based on whether your thermometer is reading hot or cold.   Also, now is a good time to rinse off your wooden spoon.  Make sure you clean off any sugar crystals clinging to it.

When the candy begins to boil, it should start steaming out the side of the lid.  Leave the lid on for another 3 minutes or so after that begins to happen.  This is called sweating the pan.  It washes down any sugar crystals that may have been clinging to the side of the pot so all the sugar cooks to the same temperature and none are left to spoil your candy.

After sweating the pan, remove the lid and stir a few times with your clean wooden spoon.  Add the thermometer now.  It is not necessary to stir continuously,  just ever few minutes or so to be sure the candy isn't scorching.  Cook over medium heat until the candy reaches 238 degrees on the thermometer.

Immediately pour out into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Just pour out what comes easily out of the pan.  Do not scrape the pan out with either the spoon or a rubber spatula.  To do so could cause your candy to "sugar."  By the way, if you do not own a stand mixer, leave the candy in the pan you cooked it in.  Let the candy cool for about an hour or so.

When the temperature of the candy has reached between 110 and 120 degrees it's time to whip it.  If beating by hand, start it at 120 if you can.  The warmer temperature will make it easier to beat.  Get lots of friends to help you stir.  You need to stir with a firm hand until the candy thickens and loses it's gloss.  With a stand mixer you will want to beat on medium speed until candy loses it's gloss.  It will have the consistency of frosting.  With the pumpkin pie fudge, you will need to stop and scrape down the candy every few minutes.  It will look a little different from the other fudges because of the extra butter.  Beat it a little past the frosting like stage until the candy has a smooth consistency and the butter is fully incorporated into it.

Scrape it out of the mixer bowl and press down into either a buttered 9x9 pan or a buttered loaf pan.  I use a loaf pan because the pan shape gives me cubes of fudge and it works best for the boxes I use for gifts.  This recipe makes two pounds of fudge.

Good luck with your candy, and be sure to leave a comment telling me how you candy came out or to ask questions.

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