Hot Cross Fudge
Easter wouldn’t be Easter without Hot Cross Buns, but how about trying Hot Cross fudge!
As with most religious holidays and festivals, there are certain foods that only get eaten at Easter. The first two that spring to mind are Simnel Cake and Hot Cross Buns.
Hot Cross Buns are definitely one of my favourite Easter treats. The dried fruits and spices sort of remind me of Christmas but the bun is much lighter and brighter than Christmas cake, making them perfect for the start of spring!
As much as I love traditional Hot Cross Buns I’m not afraid of experimenting. In the past I’ve made Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns and this year I’ve made Hot Cross Fudge!
Fudge is one of my favourite types of confectionery. Although there have been lots of easy microwave fudge recipes appearing on the internet in recent years (you can check out my own Microwave Chocolate Easter Fudge here), its actually a type of sweet that is made by melting sugar, butter and milk, then heating it to the “soft ball stage” and then beating the mixture as it cools so that it becomes, thick and smooth.
Getting the fudge to the right temperature is incredibly important or it will not set or set too hard. No one wants to break a tooth on a piece of fudge! The key is what’s known as the “soft ball stage” which is just another way of referring to the temperature that the sugars need to get to to ensure a soft set fudge.
The magic number is 116C (or 240F). Since starting to make my own fudge and other sweets I’ve invested in a sugar thermometer which not only lists all the important temperatures you need to know when making sweets, but also clips to the edge of your saucepan so you can get an accurate reading.
If you want to buy the same sugar thermometer to the one I use, [amazon_textlink asin=’B0104IYQNY’ text=’click here’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’upperinthubur-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’a19b1695-288f-11e8-974f-e5f8f037e13f’]! It’s a bargain at just £3.99.
If you don’t want to invest, or don’t have a thermometer to hand then don’t worry! You can test whether your mix has reached the soft ball stage by dropping a small amount into cold water. It should set pretty quickly, you can then squeeze it between your thumb and forefinger to check its at the desired fudge-y consistency.
Hot cross flavours
So what makes this fudge “hot cross fudge”?
The milk used in this recipe has been infused with saffron and cinnamon, I’ve also added mixed dried fruits just like those you find in a traditional hot cross bun!
I could’ve cut the fudge into squares but to make them really look like little buns I cut them into rounds.
Of course, a hot cross bun also has to have that signature white cross on top which I piped out of glace icing.
Hot Cross Fudge
- Line a 20cm pan with grease proof paper and place to one side.
- Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed pan along with the cinnamon and saffron. Place on a low heat and let the spices infuse the milk.
- Remove the saffron then place all of the other ingredients (except the icing sugar) into the pan and melt over a low heat, stirring regularly until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted.
- Gradually increase the heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring frequently.
- Once a boiling point has been reached let the mix spinach for 10-15 minutes, stirring continuously and making sure that the mix does not stick to the edges or bottom of the pan.
- Regularly check to see if the mixture has reached "soft ball stage" - this is when the temperature hits 116C. (Alternatively drop a small amount of the mix into cold water. Its ready if a soft ball of fudge forms).
- Remove the fudge from the heat and pour it into a mixing bowl along with most of the dried fruit.
- Beat the fudge with an electric whisk until it gets thick and begins to set (this will take roughly 10 minutes).
- Transfer the fudge into the lined tin and smooth out, sprinkle over the remaining dried fruit and leave to cool.
- Once completely set, cut the fudge into squares or circles as you prefer.
- Add a teaspoon of water at a time to the icing sugar until a thick, pipable icing has formed.
- Spoon the icing into a small icing bag and pipe a cross on each piece of fudge