[Ed: We’re very happy to have a new guest blogger with us today – the lovely April Caverhill. April is a visual artist, and has treated us to an original illustration to compliment her musings on fudge…]

Ah, fudge. How I love the stuff! Yes, it’s mercilessly sweet, the sort of sweet towards which children, and childlike adults, gravitate. Fudge is the hick hillbilly cousin to more glamorous, citified candy like almond roca or amaretto truffles. The fudge monster is what lures me from my bed at midnight, enticing me to the cupboard and then inviting me to cut a substantial chunk from it’s delectable, creamy body. And nothing, not even the sublime rush of caffeine can surpass the legal high obtained from fudge overindulgence. This is the sugar wave that will keep me hyper-energized through four hours of housecleaning, a long bike ride plus half an email-reading session before blood sugar levels plummet and I become an incoherent, gibbering idiot.

What makes this treat so alluring? Certainly it’s about texture. The best fudge is firm on the outside, yielding to a lush but not-too-soft interior. Flavour is also key. Simple flavours are best in my opinion; chocolate of course, or vanilla or even maple-and dear god, no marshmallows please. When I do stray from convention it’s to enjoy an East Indian version of fudge called, unfortunately, “barfi”. It tastes fabulous though. Here is one recipe:

Pistachio Nut Barfi

10 oz sugar
2 TBSP pistachio nuts, broken
2 TBSP unsalted butter
1 TBSP white flour
4 oz full fat powdered milk
1/2 TBSP ground cardamom

Put sugar in small saucepan with 8 ounces of water. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil and simmer until a bit of the syrup forms a thread when pulled. Roast pistachios in a dry pan until lightly toasted and put aside.
Heat butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, then add flour and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add powdered milk and stir. Now add sugar syrup and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture leaves sides of pan.
Add half of pistachios and all of the cardamom, then pour mixture into a pan roughly 8″ x 10″. Sprinkle with remaining nuts and leave to cool at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until set. Cut into small squares to serve.

So there you go. May you and your fudge monster live in harmony.

With sticky lips,
April Caverhill