At Taste of London 2017, we were inspired by the chefs from Vanilla Black – an award winning vegetarian restaurant in Central London – who created a beautiful dish that included cep-infused fudge. Yes, we thought it sounded strange, too, but it was incredible and has lingered in our minds since.
Cep Fudge & Iron Buddha Oolong
Oolong Tea Pairing
Recreating our own version here, we’ve created an Oolong Tea Pairing with one of China’s most famous teas: Iron Buddha. Easy to make, surprisingly delicious, and a bit of a conversation starter, here’s the recipe.
Serves: 6 | Time: 30-mins
- 397g can Condensed Milk
- 30g dried wild porcini mushrooms
- 150ml double cream
- 450g demerara sugar
- 115g butter
- Milk to loosen
Infuse wild mushrooms overnight with double cream and then strain, loosening the mixture with a little milk if it is needed and reserving the liquid for the fudge. Leftover mushrooms can be made into a risotto or soup.
Place all ingredients into a large, non-stick saucepan and melt over a low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.
Bring to the boil, taking care not to burn the mixture (or yourself) by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, stirring continuously. Continue for 10 – 15 minutes until it is at the correct temperature. You can check by dropping a small amount of the mixture into a glass of ice-cold water. It should ‘soft ball’, which is to say that it will form a soft ball of fudge. If you have a sugar thermometer, check the temperature to 118-degrees Celsius.
Remove from the heat and beat for up to ten minutes, until the mixture is much thicker and starting to set – it should resemble the consistency of peanut butter. Pour into a lined and greased tray – 20cm – and leave to cool for a few hours before cutting into squares. Do not refrigerate but store in an airtight tin in a cool, dry place for up to five days. Pair with a hot infusion of Iron Buddha Oolong – the complementary character of both bring a moment of delight to your day.
The creamy character of lightly fired Oolong and of fudge work beautifully together here. The highly floral notes of this tea soften around the buttery mouth-feel and complement the earthy note of cep – wild mushrooms – that comes through in a rich but subtle aftertaste. This tea will also pair well with anything you render from the leftover mushrooms – be it a risotto or a vegetable soup. We enjoyed the latter also using cauliflower and sage.