So who knows what Scottish tablet is then? I hope most of you, because it’s not the easiest thing to try to describe. It’s like fudge. But it’s most definitely not fudge (never call it fudge to a Scot, hrmph). It’s a similar taste – creamy, buttery, caramel with vanilla. But it’s a different texture – more sugary, and firmer. But it’s too die for!
I’ve grown up with tablet. My mum is a master at making the stuff. Truly. The woman should be selling it. We all could have retired on the profits. Tablet can be found at all sorts of events – cake sales; coffee mornings; weddings. My wedding featured plates of this goodness after the meal (made by Ma HC, obviously) instead of mints, and there was none left when we came to leave. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, this stuff will be like sugary gold!
1kg granulated sugar
120g unsalted butter
1 can of condensed milk
200ml full milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1. Add all of the ingredients, except the vanilla, into a large heavy bottomed pan and melt over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
2. Bring this gently to a rolling boil. As a guide, my cooker was only on ‘3’ (it has 9 settings), so pretty low. Once it starts to boil, time it for 30 minutes, and just let it do its thing, no need to interfere. You’ll see it gradually change from pale to beautifully golden – this is the key to tablet, it should be a gorgeous caramel colour.
3. Before the 30 minutes is up, fill your sink with about 2 inches of cold water. After the 30 minutes take your pan and place it in the sink, and give it a good stir for about a minute.
4. Now take the pan out of the sink – it’s a good idea to have a towel ready on the side – add the vanilla, and give the tablet a good beat for another minute. It should start to thicken. Just stir, stir, stir (trying not to burn yourself on the hot tablet).
5. Pour the tablet into a buttered/oiled tray – I used a silicon square tray, lightly oiled with groundnut oil (which has no taste, so is perfect for oiling cake tins with) which worked perfectly, but a well buttered tray is great.
Note: As you pour the tablet into your tray, don’t be tempted to thoroughly scrape down the sides. The tablet will cool quickly around the edges, and turn hard and sugary. If you scrape the pan, you’ll end up with hard lumps of tablet on top. Just pour out the tablet quickly, then scrape the pan afterwards into a separate dish. These scrapings are possibly the best bit anyway!
6. Let the tablet cool completely before turning it out and cutting it up into little squares of loveliness.
If your tablet doesn’t set, you haven’t boiled it for long enough. Get it back in the pan and back on the boil for 5-10 minutes. Then give it a bloody good beating – a hand mixer can be useful here.
And if, once it has set, the tablet won’t come out of the tin, this probably means you didn’t butter it well enough. You can cut it up in the tin, and try wedging it out. Or get a spoon.
I was always a bit scared of tablet. It was a bit of an enigma. So I’m always pleasantly surprised when it works out! It’s a bit of work, but it’s most definitely worth it. So give it a go – just don’t blame me when your arteries start to protest.