Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Trinidad Coconut Fudge

When I think back to my favorite sweets from my childhood, along with the readily available American sweets and the English sweets my aunt always brought back from the UK, I always think of the creamy, delectable coconut goodness my mom always bought home from her many trips to Trinidad. My mom never made fudge at home so it really was a special treat to me and my siblings. Along with the coconut fudge she bought back vanilla fudge and brown sugar fudge but none of them stood in comparison to the coconut fudge. Ok...so fast forward years later to adulthood and coconut fudge is still one of my favorite confections. Once you live in a Caribbean based neighborhood or in Trinidad then coconut fudge is something easily attainable...but let me warn you not all fudge is created equal. Right here in Brooklyn or on my travels to Trinidad I've encountered people selling  tasteless, dry, brittle fudge that could scar your palette for life. This brings me to my next point when you make your fudge or buy fudge store it by wrapping in plastic and placing in a air tight container, that will keep the fudge from being over exposed to air and retain its melt in your mouth texture. Now on to the fudge recipe. This recipe is from the famous Naparima Girls cookbook, it just requires a few simple ingredients and time. Here are a few more tips for the road:

- If you are going to use can coconut milk look for the milk with the fewest preservative as some of those extra ingredients will prevent your fudge from setting up correctly.

- If you want fresh coconut milk pick a coconut that has weight and when shaken you hear liquid inside.

- A hand held blender is helpful and time saving instead of stirring by hand at the end.

- The book states that the candy has to be cooked to soft ball stage but I cooked it to firm ball. 

Trinidad Coconut Fudge
Make 36 squares
4 cups coconut milk
2 (14oz) cans of condensed milk
pinch of salt
2lbs granulated sugar
2 tbsp margarine (I used butter)

- If you chose to use fresh coconut milk you can make it by removing and discarding the outer husk of the coconut; cutting to coconut meat into small chunks and placing in a blender with enough water to make up the amount of coconut milk you need. 

- Blend the coconut and water on liquefy and then strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Place the milk in a container and discard or freeze the coconut flesh for future use.

- Combine the coconut milk, condensed milk, salt, and sugar in a large pot over medium high heat.

- Stirring regularly cook milk mixture to firm ball stage. If you have a candy thermometer that would be 245-250 degrees. If you dont have a thermometer have a bowl of ice cold water near by and when ready to test the mixture, take a drop of the candy and place in the water. The drop should form a firm yet pliable ball.

- When candy reaches the ideal temperature/texture, remove from heat an beat in margarine with an electric beater. (you could beat this mix by hand but I wouldn't recommend unless your name is Tanty Merle)

- Continue beating until candy loses its gloss. (this is the time consuming part, turn on your favorite radio station or itunes playlist by the time)

- Now pour the mixture into a greased pan. (I used a pan lined with wax paper)

- Spread/press mixture into place.

- Cool and cut into squares.

- Enjoy!

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