Fudge from Paraguay: Baking with Oma

Fudge from Paraguay: Baking with Oma

I arrive at Oma’s house to the smell of caramelizing cocoa and sugar on the stove. She started her pot of fudge right after I called her from the car. I was running late and she couldn’t wait. She was excited to make fudge together.

She started making fudge in Paraguay long before she came to Canada. They didn’t have much, so this was one of the few sweet treats she and her siblings enjoyed. In Paraguay, the primary flavouring was the cane sugar that they found in the bush. It was a special treat that they had one Sunday a month when a few churches from the village would come together for a morning service and a business meeting in the afternoon. The children would enjoy fudge while the adults discussed church matters.

“You know, since we did not have sugar and we didn’t have chocolate, that’s why we made it from cane sugar…So it tasted like syrup. Ya, and it wasn’t bad and we liked it – anything that was sweet. Rather than just chewing on that cane. That’s what we did – it used to be one Sunday a month…”

She had me bring my own whipping cream and I started on my own batch of fudge as soon as I walked in the door. We had barely hugged and then I was in the kitchen with her, adding my sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and cream and setting it on the stove to simmer. It’s all in the technique to get the light, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth fudge. You need to take time. It’s not an instant recipe; the fudge needs to lightly bubble for 45 minutes.

Oma has reduced her baking and cooking down to the essentials and her favourites and now she’s teaching me. As I learn the techniques through each stir of my spoon, I recall her stories and time spent with her. The body has memory, and I want to learn what she has spent her lifetime perfecting.

 

Oma’s Creamy Fudge

Makes a 9”x12” baking pan of fudge

20 minutes to prep

45 minutes to simmer

30 minutes to cool

 

 

Ingredients:

2 cups white sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon butter

 ½ - ¾ cup all purpose flour

 

Mix the dry ingredients

Place dry ingredients (white sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa) into the saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon until blended. Turn element on medium and add the vanilla and then slowly add whipping cream. Add whipping cream gradually, stirring until all lumps dissolve. Make sure to scrape around the edges of the pan so all the sugar and cocoa is incorporated. Use a wooden spoon and stir, stir, stir.

 

 

Bringing the mixture to a simmer

Be patient here! If you’ve ever brought cream to a boil before you’ll know it boils over quickly. Keep the temperature on medium and stir occasionally until it starts to bubble (after about 5 minutes). Once it’s bubbling turn the temperature down as low as you can without turning it off, but so it’s still bubbling gently in the centre. If you need to, move the pan halfway off the element to keep it to a low simmer.

Simmer for about 45 minutes.

As it’s simmering check on it periodically to make sure it’s keeping a low, steady simmer. Some of the cocoa mixture will start coating the sides of the pan. You can scrape the edges with your wooden spoon and put it back into the simmering liquid.

 

 

Preparing the fudge

While the mixture is simmering prepare a greased 9”x12” baking pan. To coat the pan evenly, use cooking spray and then use your fingers to spread it around, making sure to get around the edges too. Get your whisk ready as well as a spatula to scrape out the fudge when it’s done.

To test if the fudge is ready, drop a bit of the simmering cocoa mixture into a bowl of water (room temperature) to see if it forms a solid lump. If it separates, then the fudge isn’t quite ready yet. Keep simmering.

Once the simmering is done, add the butter and blend.

 

 

The art of setting fudge

Now here’s where the art of making fudge comes in. Add the flour gradually, stirring with a whisk to incorporate it without any lumps. Do this quickly because you don’t want it to set before you pour it into the pan!

Pour the mixture into the greased 9”x12” baking pan and use a spatula to scrape all of it out. Be careful not to move the pan once your pour the mixture in or you will have wrinkles on the top of your fudge. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect the first time (or fill the pan properly). It will still taste good! Oma wrinkled my batch when she moved my baking pan. She kept apologizing after that. Even the experts make mistakes!

Cool on the counter and cut it into squares after about 10 minutes, before it gets too hard.

The fudge will keep in the fridge for a week or more (that’s if you don’t eat it all at once!).

 

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About Avery Peters

Sharing stories. Sharing food.

I express my creativity in the kitchen. My inspiration comes from being outside—in the forest, on the farm, by the ocean, or going to the farmers’ market. I love to share food with family and friends.