Gingerbread tablet for Burns Night 2022 (gluten-free; dairy-free; vegan)

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Sweetly spiced sugary tablet squares. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

It’s coming up for the time of year again when we celebrate the birth of Scotland’s national poet, Rabbie Burns. Last year was a subdued affair due to the pandemic, but this year I’m sure will see more celebrations this coming Tuesday 25th as restrictions are eased.

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Gingerbread tablet and ginger wine. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I thought I would share a well known Scottish sweetie recipe with you. It’s easy to make and makes the perfect treat to serve with after dinner coffee or a wee dram of whisky or ginger wine. Traditionally made with dairy condensed milk and butter, I have simply switched to vegan alternatives, but the recipe will also work with dairy products if you so wish.

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Vegan tablet ingredients. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Tablet is a bit like fudge but is less creamy and has a more sugary, firmer texture. I guarantee one piece will not be enough. I have added some chopped preserved ginger and mixed spice to a basic recipe to give a classic gingerbread flavour, but really any flavouring goes from vanilla extract or fruit zest to salted caramel or whisky. I’ll leave you to come up with your own versions, and in the meantime, here’s the recipe.

Makes: 36 squares

Ingredients

  • 50g plant butter
  • 150ml water
  • 450g granulated sugar
  • 115g vegan condensed milk
  • 50g chopped preserved ginger
  • 1tsp ground mixed spice
  • A large pinch of salt

1. Line an ungreased 18cm square tin with waxed paper or silicone parchment. Put the plant butter and water in a large saucepan and heat to melt. Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until completely dissolved.

2. Bring to the boil, stir in the condensed milk and simmer for between 5-10 minutes to reach 115°C on a sugar thermometer. Stir the mixture frequently to prevent the mixture sticking to the pan and burning. If you don’t have a thermometer, after about 5 minutes drop a small amount of the mixture into a glass of cold water and if it forms a soft ball it is ready.

3. Remove from the heat, add the ginger, spice and salt and continue to stir until the mixture begins to become grainy – this will take around 5 minutes. Don’t let it get too thick, you should still be able to pour it. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the top.

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Making tablet. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

5. Leave the tablet to cool sufficiently to allow you to score the top into 36 squares, then leave to cool completely.

6. When it hard, use the paper to help lift out the tablet, and peel away the paper edges. Cut the squares through completely.

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Small_cut_squares_of_homemade_Scottish_tablet
Freshly cut squares. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

If you can leave it alone long enough, tablet stores for at least 2 weeks in an air-tight tin or container. It makes a lovely edible gift at any time of the year.

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Store tablet in an air-tight tin. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Whatever you’re up to on January 25th or for the rest of the month, I hope you have a good time. I raise a glass to you and say “Slàinte” 🙂

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