With his engaging banter, Tomás Póil could surely peddle ice to Eskimos, but he doesn’t have to work nearly as hard to persuade the folks of Dublin to indulge in blocks cut from his big slabs of fudge. We ran into Póil at his Man of Aran Fudge booth at the street food market on Bernardo Square on New Year’s Day. (To find out where he’ll be on any given weekend, see www.manofaranfudge.ie). A surprising number of people seemed to be finding Póil’s sweets to be the perfect antidote to a night of overindulgent revelry.
Originally from the Aran Isles, Póil began making fudge in 1999 and hasn’t yet grown tired of coming up with new flavor combinations. In one, he tops a slab of brown sugar fudge infused with coffee and Irish whiskey with a thin layer of creamy vanilla to emulate a cup of Irish coffee. We found ourselves more taken, however, with the mix of Bailey’s Irish Cream and coffee stirred into vanilla fudge.
Póil shared rough approximations of the ratio of ingredients to make a 3 kilogram slab. We scaled them down to a smaller batch that fits into an 8-inch by 8-inch brownie pan (a bit over 1 1/2 pounds). Less is a good thing, since this fudge is so good that it’s hard to resist.
BAILEY’S IRISH CREAM FUDGE
This recipe is perhaps the easiest way to make a non-chocolate fudge, but it does require a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the mix. A candy thermometer is a natural, but we use an instant read high-temperature probe on a ThermoWorks ChefAlarm.
Makes 36 pieces
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/8 teaspoon instant coffee
2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and grease with 1 tablespoon butter. Set aside.
Place remaining butter, instant coffee, and Bailey’s Irish Cream in a quart-size heatproof bowl (stainless steel is best). Set bowl on a wire rack.
In a large pot with a heavy, heat-distributing base, place sugar, cream, corn syrup and salt. Heat at medium low, stirring until all the sugar has melted (about 15 minutes). Raise heat to medium high and bring to a gentle simmer. Insert temperature probe or thermometer.
Continue to heat without stirring, using a silicon rubber spatula to push down the edges of the bubbling mixture. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches 238°F, the soft ball stage.
Immediately transfer the mixture to the heatproof bowl. Do not scrape the sides or the bottom of pot, and most important of all, do not stir while mixture rests and temperature drops back to 110°F (about 90 minutes, depending on room temperature). The butter, coffee, and Irish Cream will float to the top. Don’t worry about it.
When the mixture reaches 110°F, begin stirring with a wooden spoon and keep at it until the mixture thickens and loses its gloss. Immediately pour into prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Let fudge rest on the counter for 1 hour and refrigerate until fully set.