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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Penuche? What is Penuche???

That is a really good question. My Mother used to make Penuche, and I still really didn't know what it was until I was a bit older (I'm guessing as a silly child I veered clear of Penuche because it wasn't chocolate fudge). I certainly have never tried to make it until yesterday and I really wish I had tried it sooner. It is creamy smooth almost caramel-y with the consistency of fudge. Technically speaking, it is a fudge. Your arm will feel like it is going to fall off while you are stirring this, so it is best to make it when you have someone else available to stir a bit for you (or, if all else fails, use your mixer). This is made using the same method I used for the Pumpkin Fudge(which I think would also be great as a holiday gift). This Penuche is just brown sugar-pecan-a-licious. I found the recipe in the Joy of Cooking book. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I am.

Penuche: (yields one 8x8" pan, cut into 36 squares)

Prepare an 8x8" pan by lining it with parchement or foil and lightly coating that with butter or pan spray (the recipe also states that you can drop this candy by tablespoonsful onto parchement paper instead of doing a big hunk of it). In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring to a boil, stirring constantly:
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
-Once this mixture is boiling, cover the pan and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the steam has washed down any excess sugar crystals from the side of the pan (I did this and as an extra precaution washed down the sides with a brush and some water as well)
-Uncover and cook slowly, without stirring, until the temperature is 238f or soft ball stage, remove from heat and add:
2 Tbsp butter
-Cool to 110f
1 tsp (or 2 tsps if you are a vanilla freak) vanilla (or vanilla bean paste, yum)
-Stir like a mad person, once you have stirred quite a bit and have lost almost all feeling in your arm, add:
1 cup pecans (or more if you like)
-Stir a bit more, you want to stir until it loses it's gloss and is smooth and creamy. Turn out into the prepared pan, spread the mixture out, and let it cool and solidify.

MMMmmmmmmm! Very good stuff. It is very very rich and very sweet, but it's the holidays, so it's ok!
Have fun with this! Rest your arm! Beware hot sugar! Happy Candy Making!

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Jennifer said...

I had never had penuche until after I got married. My husband's mother makes it every year for Christmas, and I do my best to make sure I get more than my fair share. It is so good! That reminds me - I need to make sure she makes some soon!

Jen the bread freak said...

Hi Jennifer! Seriously, I wish I had known about this earlier...I love pecans and the brown sugar in this is just wonderful. Heehee..I hope she makes a big batch of it for you! Happy holidays!

Brilynn said...

Perhaps penuche means delicious? Cause it sure looks that way to me.

Jen the bread freak said...

I think you are right, Brilynn. It was very yummy! Thank you!