A to Z Recipes
Scots Tablet
This is a delectable sweet which simply melts in the mouth and is quite addictive. Arranged in small boxes or jars it makes an ideal Christmas gift. It is a little like fudge, but is much crisper, and not at all chewy. Tablet is quite straight-forward to make as long as you follow the instructions carefully. As the temperature is crucial to the texture, a sugar thermometer is necessary - unless you are totally confident about testing for the hard-ball stage. Makes 450 g (1 lb).

INGREDIENTS: 450 g (1 lb) granulated sugar, 150 ml (1/4 pint) evaporated milk, pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence.

COOKING: 1. Butter a 20 cm (8 inch) shallow square cake tin. Fill a shallow roasting tin with cold water.
2. Place the sugar in a heavy-based medium saucepan with the evaporated milk. Heat very gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Do not let mixture boil during this time or it will crystallise. Do not use a non-stick pan or it will burn.
3. Once completely dissolved, bring to the boil and boil for about 20 minutes or until it registers 118C (245 F) on a sugar thermometer (ie the hard ball stage - when a little of the mixture will form a hard ball when rolled between your fingers). Immediately stand the base of the pan in the cold water and stir in the salt and vanilla essence.
4. Remove the pan from the water and beat the mixture as it begins to 'set' and go grainy around the edge of the pan, pulling the crust towards the centre. Do not overbeat, otherwise the mixture will not pour; if underbeaten, the tablet will be chewy - which is all wrong!
5. While still pourable, pour the mixture into the prepared tin and allow to cool slightly until set. Mark into squares or bars and leave until completely cold, then cut or break into squares or bars. Store in an airtight container.

NOTE: It may take a couple of attempts to perfect tablet, but it is worth the effort. It should be hard to the touch, and granular and melting in the mouth.