Every Christmas our mother would make three different kinds of fudges. We would carefully wrap a selection in crackly difficult, transparent cellophane, then we gathered the corners together, with a red ribbon, tied in a bow. We made a number of little packages. A large number. Us kids would make tiny cards that we attached to the ribbons and then with baskets loaded with fudge we would walk along the beach and around the block giving out our Mothers little christmas gifts to all the neighbours she knew. She knew plenty. Everyone smiled at us. We were as popular as the florists delivery boy.
Of the three fudges that I remember making, I have the actual recipe for the Russian Fudge. This seems to have its origins in an old Scottish fudge called Tablet. Though that does not explain where the Russian came in. It is definitely one of the retro recipes. I have cruised the New Zealand sugary sites, comparing Mums recipe to others, and they are all almost exactly the same so I think if I look further I will find a 50’s version in New Zealand Woman’s Weekly or The Edmonds Cookbook something.
3 tablespoons of Golden Syrup. (I cannot find Golden Syrup out here on the plains, so I used sorghum/molasses which is close. But Golden Syrup is the NZ flavour. )
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk
3 1/2 cups white sugar (told you it was bad for you)
4 oz (about 125 grams) butter
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
Heat all the ingredients to a gentle rolling boil, stir occassionally, after about 10 minutes drop a little into cold water, if it balls you are done. (or slowly heat up to 150C, though mine was ready before it got that hot) Take off the heat. Add 1 big tsp of vanilla. Now the important bit. Beat with a hand beater until it looks duller and is thicker. I beat it for at least 5 minutes. But it is cooling, so once you feel it change consistency and get thicker, quickly pour into a greased pie dish. Mark your little squares with a knife while it is soft.
For some extraordinary reason this is perfect with a wee dram of cognac. In the bad old days I often took a medicinal shot of good cognac just before I went on stage. It warms the vocal chords, I would tell my disapproving stage manager, as she gave me the five minute call.