Tablet is a sweet Scottish treat that has been around for generations.
It is often sold at summer and winter fairs, and many Scottish restaurants will offer you a few wee cubes of tablet along with your after dinner coffee.
It is quite difficult to explain what tablet is like to someone who has never tried it though, as although it may look like fudge, the texture is completely different.
Where fudge has a smooth creamy texture, tablet has a grainy, sugary texture. Fudge comes in many different flavours, but tablet is almost always (although not exclusively) found in it's pure unadulterated state.
I've added this photo to try and show the grainy, sugary texture, but to really find out what it is like, the best thing is to make some!
Don't be put off by the huge quantity of sugar in this. Tablet is so extremely sweet that even someone with as sweet a tooth as mine can only manage a small cube or two at a time!
One thing to mention before starting, is to make sure you have a good pan that the mixture won't stick to, and that you use a bigger pan than you think you will need as the mixture rises up in the pan as it boils.
Oh, and one final thing, do make sure that you use real butter for this and not margarine!
You will need:
125g salted butter
200g condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional, I often don't add and don;t notice much difference)
-Melt the butter in your large, non stick pan.
- Add the sugar and milk, then stir over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 8-10 minutes. You don't need to stir the whole time but you should stir it often, and definitely don't leave it unattended!
-Add the condensed milk and then bring it back to the boil.
-Simmer for another 8-10 minutes until it reaches 'soft ball' stage, or 115C/240F on a sugar thermometer. (Soft ball is when you drop a little of the mixture from a teaspoon into a cup of cold water, you can roll it into a soft ball with your fingers.)
-Once this stage is reached, remove from the heat and add the vanilla if you are using it.
-Now you need to get that grainy texture. For this stage it is much easier if you have an electric mixer, although not essential. If you have a mixer then either tip the mix into the bowl, or use a hand held mixer and keep the mix in the pan, and beat for about 5 minutes. If you are doing this by hand, as used to always do, then you will need to beat the mixture in the pan with a wooden spoon for at least 10 minutes. In a way I prefer mixing with the spoon as it is easier to feel when the tablet is ready, but there is no denying that it is very hard work and you will get a good arm workout!
-What you are looking for is the tablet to thicken up a little, and you will notice that the texture has become much more grainy.
-This is the mixture before beating, You can see it is still quite thin..
-And this is it after beating. Quite thicker, and with the grainy texture.
-Pour the mixture into a lined tin and leave to harden, then cut up into squares, remembering how sweet it as as a guide to the size of them!