Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pumpkin Fudge

i've still got one medium sized pumpkin in the kitchen from this fall's harvest. after awhile pondering what i might make with it, i recalled a particular recipe for Parsnip Vanilla Fudge from the book: Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache, by Harry Eastwood. the book specializes in cakes made with vegetables and low fat, usually wheat free recipes. and guess what? the recipes work! which is great for  gluten free cooking enthusiasts, especially when every recipe uses veg in some way. for those of you used to gluten free baking: you may know some recipes have a tendency to be 'bricklike' and dry. but the clever addition of grated vegetables in Harry's recipes yield moist and light baking.

you don't need much pumpkin for this recipe, so count on making a nice pumpkin curry afterwards.

 the authour has a whimsical way of writing recipes, refering to cakes and their individual personalities like they are a part of a story book. which can hit hard on the annoying scale, but if you can over look this then, you are well on your way to exciting baking. the book is well worth the shelf space.

i made the parsnip vanilla fudge from this book once and decided to give it a go with pumpkin and a mix of spices: black pepper, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla and cloves. the end product is buttery with a slightly spicy warmth and a smooth pumpkin background. this recipe can take awhile to make, so set aside some time, a pot of tea and a good talk radio program to get you through it. count on 45 minutes to 1 hour to make your fudge.

you need to use a digital themometer for this recipe. im not sure how people make fudge without one, as it requires cooking to the 'soft ball' stage in candy making which is 119C (238F) degrees. i do remember being shown a method of testing cooked sugar in pastry school, but im pretty sure it meant handling hot caramel with cold water and bare hands. not really recomended! so unless you are a fuge pro and can eye-ball the process, use a themometer.

Pumpkin Fudge
25 pieces

don't skip the addition of a crunchy seed topping. i used pumpkin and sunflower seeds, but use any seed or nut you like, just toast them lightly in the oven before topping the fudge.

200g pumpkin, peeled and chopped

335g condensed milk
450g sugar
35g salted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 whole cloves, or 1/4 tsp ground cloves
a pinch of nutmeg

1 generous handful of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, or any seeds and nuts you like
  • preheat oven to 180C (350F)
  • grease a baking tin 22cm (8 inches) square with butter, and line bottom with parchment paper cut to fit
  • place pumpkin pieces in a small sauce pan covered in ater, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes till completely soft.
  • blend pumpkin with a hand blender or food processor.
  • place all ingredients (except topping) in a medium sauce pan and set on low , stir every 1-2 minutes till the sugar has melted, around ten minutes
  • meanwhile, place a handfull of seeds and nuts on a baking tray, toast in the oven for 5 minutes or so. cool
  • once the sugar has melted completely turn up your cooker to a medium heat. stir slowly for around 20 minutes, check temperature with a digital themometer
  • the fudge will start to clour a bit by now, the temp with read close to 105C (220F) for some time then slowly climb to the desired temperature.
  • once you've reached the 'soft ball stage' 119C (238F), remove from heat and stirt for one minute vigorously, this helps cool the fudge a bit. try to fish out the cloves (if using) with a small knife
  • pour into prepared pan, then chop you seeds and nuts
  • after a couple minutes scatter the seed topping and lightly press into the fudge, be careful its hot.
  • let cool for at least an hour or two to set, then cut into squares in a 5x5 pattern


  1. Interesting! Love the beautiful pumpkin! Let's see that curry!

    1. we're making some pumpkin curry for our new years eve soiree!

  2. That sounds pretty tricky - lots of things that could easily go wrong? I'd be certain to burn my fingers or drop the fudge while trying to fish the cloves out of it...

    1. true enough! you could even leave the cloves in the fudge? or use a large holed strainer to remove them. i didn't have ground cloves on hand so i went for the whole ones. thanks for the input!