Scottish Tablet – Outlander on STARZ Episode 106
It's going to be a tough Saturday. Even if you haven't read any of the early reviews for Epsiode 106 of Outlander on STARZ, this picture says it all.
BJR is back, and it doesn't look like his mood has improved greatly, madame.
I racked my brain for a few weeks on this one, trying to find even a tenuous link between "The Garrison Commander" and food. Stress, tension and physical brutality hardly whet the appetite.
A big heavy meal was out, no doubt. The lovely Atholl Brose liqueur was just a couple of weeks ago - too soon to resort to booze again - although if there's an episode to pull the booze out, it would be this Saturday's.
And then it hit me.
So sweet, you could never eat more than one bite; so noshable you can never resist just one more piece.
Tablet is similar to fudge, but it's cooked to a higher temperature and has less fat, resulting in a crumbly, rather than a creamy, texture.
First recorded in The Scots Kitchen by F. Marian McNeill (1929), the recipe dates back to the early 18th Century. The recipe has changed over the years, calling for only sugar and cream originally, but now including butter, condensed milk and vanilla. The additions make the cooking a lot easier, and a burnt-sugar mess a lot less likely.
Tablet's sweet, slightly sandy-textured goodness is the perfect nibble to nurse as we all sit down to watch a rather intense hour of television. I'll try to remember, during the more uncomfortable bits, that I've waited years to watch this story unfold on screen...and I'm loving every minute of it.
:A crumbly, fudge-like, super-sweet candy popular across Scotland.
Yield: approx 10 dozen 1" pieces
- Sugar - 5 Cups
- Milk - ½ Cup
- Butter, cubed - ½ Cup
- Sweetened Condensed Milk - 1 Can (15oz/300ml)
- Vanilla - 1 tsp
Read all instructions through twice. Remove children, pets and anything else that may get underfoot in the next hour. Candy making involves boiling molten sugar for an extended period and is DANGEROUS. Use a long handled wooden spoon to stir and avoid splatters.
Heavily butter a 13” x 9” glass or metal pan.
Mix together sugar and milk in a large saucepan until all sugar is dampened. Stir in butter and condensed milk. Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until mixture boils, 10-20 minutes.
Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until mixture is 240° F (soft-ball stage) and a rich butterscotch colour, 10-25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Beat tablet with a handheld electric mixer on medium speed until it thickens, but is still pourable, 5-7 minutes. Alternatively, beat vigorously with wooden spoon for 10-15 minutes. (Your mixing arm will not be happy.)
Pour into prepared pan and cool overnight, to allow it to dry slightly. Cut into squares. Store in airtight tin.
Pairs very well with the single malt of your choice, or a tall glass of milk.
- Fill a bowl with ice water and keep it by the stove. If an accident or spill happens, plunge your affected area into the bowl and keep it there for 3 minutes. This will greatly reduce the burn -- trust me, I know all about it.
- I’ve included a wide range of times in this recipe. Everybody’s experience with this recipe (and candy-making in general) will be different. We all have different stoves, with differing medium heats. Differences in pans and humidity, etc. can also change timing.
- Beating the tablet is essential to form sugar crystals that are big enough to set, but small enough to still pour from the pan. Beat it until it has thickened, but stop before gritty lumps form.
- Sure, you could replace the vanilla with whisky, but unless you add a couple of tablespoons, you probably won't taste it. I prefer my whisky in a glass.