Saturday 20 October 2012

We Should Cocoa - Pumpkin Pie Fudge

Baked butternut squash
When I saw Suelle's entry for this month's We Should Cocoa challenge - a delicious-looking pumpkin, chocolate and maple loaf - I was intrigued. Pumpkin is such a great challenge ingredient! Sadly under-appreciated in this country (although, to be fair, a lot of the pumpkins I have eaten here have been watery and either flavourless or bitter) in Australia it is a key part of a roast dinner, but it also turns up quite a lot in baking. For example Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen's famous pumpkin scones. And gramma pie (gramma is an old-fashioned Australian type of pumpkin, although I actually don't think I've ever seen one in Australia or elsewhere).

So my intrigue was enough to get me involved with The Hungry Hinny's pumpkin and chocolate challenge. Originally started by Chele and Choclette, We Should Cocoa is a monthly celebration of chocolate that has been keeping chocolate-minded bloggers entertained for more than two years, but this is only my third time playing.

I thought about adding some chocolate chips to Lady Flo's scones. I thought about making pumpkin in a mole sauce, or a warm pumpkin salad with chocolate balsamic (although I've already done chocolate balsamic for WSC!). And then I decided to take the flavours of pumpkin pie to fudge.
White chocolate and butternut puree - looks disconcertingly like tandoori paste

I used my basic traditional fudge recipe, beating in white chocolate, sieved baked butternut and spices. I also added some food colouring to make it more of a "pumpkin" colour, but if you prefer a more subtle effect you could leave that out.
Beating the chocolate and butternut into the fudge base

The chocolate makes the fudge creamier - I have a feeling that the extra fat and sugar in it breaks up the sugar crystals or something - and a softer set. And as I beat it I was overcome by kitsch and decided that what I needed to do was to turn my fudge into little Halloween pumpkins and jack o' lanterns.

When the fudge was cool enough to handle, I rolled it into balls. Some I flattened out a bit and some I left quite spherical. I pressed a toothpick around the sides of the spherical ones to give them more of a pumpkin segment shape, and I decorated them with writing fudge - faces on the flat ones and little stems on the pumpkins.

They are really quite spicy, so make some very small pumpkins so people who aren't sure about pumpkin pie don't waste too much! And maybe just use a teaspoon of the spice mix if you are making these for children. I'd still use the booze though - it's such a small amount but I think it adds an important, although subtle flavour.

An unexpectedly good flavour pairing was a piece of fudge with a glass of amontillado sherry.
That ray of autumn sun buggered up my photography

Pumpkin Pie Fudge Pumpkins

300ml whole milk
350g caster sugar
100g salted butter (I think it gives a better flavour)
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbs rum, bourbon or brandy
100ml pumpkin puree
120g chopped white chocolate
1tbs pumpkin pie spice (I used this blend, omitting the allspice because I have realised I prefer allspice in savoury dishes)
orange food colouring paste (optional)
Chocolate writing fudge

Mix the pumpkin puree with the rum, vanilla, spice and food colouring (I wanted to make it easier to blend into the fudge, add the chopped white chocolate and set it aside.

Make the fudge according to this recipe, and when it comes off the heat add the spiced pumpkin puree and white chocolate. When it thickens, you can either pour it into a baking-paper lined tin to cool, and then cut it into squares, or you can leave it in the pan until it's cool enough to handle, then roll teaspoonfuls of mixture between your palms into balls. Either flatten and draw faces on them with writing fudge, or press a toothpick into the sides to mark into segments, flatten the top slightly and pipe a little "stem" on top with the writing fudge. Allow to cool completely before eating.

Cute and autumnal - but you could just set it in a tray and mark it into cubes
I am also going to share this with the One Ingredient challenge, hosted by Franglais Kitchen and How to Cook Good Food. They are featuring pumpkin and squash this month, so these little fudge pumpkins are perfect!


leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I've never tried pumpkin flavoured fudge before - but it sounds like it could be tasty! And they look so cute the way you made them.

Suelle said...

An unusual use for pumpkin, and you must have the patience of a saint for all the shaping and decorating! Very cute results, though! :)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Leaf - it's good. More spicy than pumpkin-y, but very tasty!

Suelle - patience is not my forte! The cooking of the fudge itself took much longer than the decorating.

Barbara said...

I'm so glad you tried this! I've seen pumpkin fudge on Pinterest and wondered if we'd like it.
These turned out so well, and so cute!

Caroline said...

Sounds like a pretty inspired idea to me - pumpkin fudge with added chocolate, and they look so lovely - it must have taken you ages and ages to do them!

Unknown said...

What a creative and fun recipe you've come up with! Sounds like a delicious combination with the white chocolate!

Susan said...

These are so cute! And a clever way to rise to the challenge.

Lela London said...

This is absolute genius. And hell for someone who has been tasked to eat healthy this week haha.


Alicia Foodycat said...

Barbara - it'd be easier using a condensed milk fudge recipe.

Caroline - it was actually quite quick. That writing fudge is speedy stuff!

Chris - thank you!

Susan - thanks! I thought they were very sweet.

Lela - sorry about that!

Simona Carini said...

Your creations look really cute!

Choclette said...

You are so creative, I can't imagine many would have thought of adding pumpkin to their favourite fudge recipe - or any fudge recipe come to that. They look delightful and sound delicious - I like the thought of spicy fudge. These must have taken you ages. Thank you, it's an excellent entry to WSC and something rather different too.

grace said...

well, aren't you clever and crafty! these are a double whammy--cute and delicious!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Simona - thanks!

Choclette - making fudge this way is time consuming, but it tastes so good it is worthwhile!

Grace - thank you!

laura@howtocookgoodfood said...

I would never have thought of making pumpkin flavoured fudge just brilliant. These are extra cute and dinky!
Thanks for entering One Ingredient :)
Laura@howtocookgoodfood x

Unknown said...

Those little pumpkins are so cute! I'm not a massive fan of fudge but I showed this page to my boyfriend who loves fudge and he likes the sound of white chocolate pumpkin fudge so I may end up giving this a go.

Katharine said...

These are fantastic - they look amazing and are so creative in their flavours! Wonderful!

Anonymous said...

these are so creative! A great idea and I can imagine the flavour is great since pumpkin seems to work well with a heavy sweet creamy flavour in pumpkin pie.


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