Food and drink

Homemade Tablet

Tablet is a traditional Scottish treat which might seem similar to fudge but it’s harder, crumbly and sweeter. You can usually find it at tea mornings, jumble sales and summer galas as it’s long been a mainstay of the home bakes tables that appear in those locations.

I’ve got fond memories of my Mum making it when we were little and I’ve tried it before in the past with little success. My last attempt ended with a baking tray full of sugary mush that was barely edible. But it’s worth persevering to get it right so I thought I’d give it another go.

For some reason I had a tin of light condensed milk which seemed admirable until I saw how much sugar I was going to mix it with. 900g. Almost an entire bag. It also makes a mockery of the skimmed milk I poured in as well. Hell, if you’re using that much sugar why even bother with milk? You may as well go out in style and use cream. Maybe next time that’s what I’ll do.

Anyway I consulted the internet and saw a couple of similar recipes with a few slight differences in technique. Some of them suggested melting everything together while others said to melt the sugar and butter then add the liquid. I tried the latter first but after 10 minutes of stirring almost a kilo of sugar with no discernible effect I got bored and poured in the rest of the ingredients. Which had the immediate effect of dissolving the hot sugar. So I would strongly suggest you just melt everything together.

The recipes I was following said to bring the liquid to the boil slowly over a low heat. If you do that you will become very bored and end up with a sore wrist (you can’t let it settle or it will catch on the bottom of the pot and you’ll end up with hard crystals in the final tablet). It’s much more sensible to use a medium heat and then lower it once the liquid reaches boiling point.

Apart from that the actual process was pretty straightforward. You melt everything, boil it then stir for 15 minutes on the heat. Then take it off the heat and stir vigorously for 15 minutes or until you get fed up. At this point pour the mix into a buttered baking tray and leave it to cool in the fridge. After a few hours you’ll have enough hard, crumbly, sweet tablet to keep your dentist in work for years to come!

One word on safety. Working with molten sugar is very painful if you get any of it on you. Use a large pot with high sides and if you are particularly messy wear rubber gloves as well.

900g sugar
100g butter
400g tin condensed milk
1 cup milk

Butter a baking tray. You won’t have time to do that later.
Mix the ingredients in a large pot and melt over a medium heat while stirring constantly.
Bring the liquid to the boil then turn the heat down low and keep stirring for 15 minutes.
The liquid should become slightly firmer and change to a darker butterscotch colour.
Take the pot off the heat and stir furiously for another 15 minutes.
Quickly pour the mixture into the baking tray and leave to set in the fridge for a couple of hours.
You can score it with a knife before placing it in the fridge to make it easier to break up once it’s set.


7 thoughts on “Homemade Tablet”

  1. I have never made tablet and never really been tempted to. I think it suffers from its obiquitousness (is that a word?). There is tablet EVERWHERE, ALL THE TIME around these parts so it just doesn’t really excite me. But I would definitely recommend it to anyone elsewhere.

  2. OMG I love tablet! MInd you, don’t think there can be anyone in Scotland who doesn’t! I can see just by looking at the pictures that your tablet is the kind that just melts on your tongue, so easy to get it wrong and have horrible gritty or burnt tasting tablet. Thanks for reminding me how great our Scottish traditional sweets are.

  3. Lou, I know what you mean. It does seem to be everywhere but I guess that just shows how easy it is (in theory) to make. It’s so easy to forget just how damn tasty it is though!

    Janice, it didn’t quite turn out perfect. There were a few hard bits of crystalised sugar in it but it’s not too bad for a first successful attempt.

    Thanks again for the comments.


  4. I just made tablet a couple of weeks ago. I seem to be an oddity in the tablet making world, not to use condensed milk, but my great granny’s recipe is what I grew up eating, so it’s what I make, and it just has regular milk, butter and sugar, and a lot of elbow grease! Mind you, you need it to cancel out some of the calories involved in eating it… Yours looks delicious though – it’s such a relief when it sets :o)

  5. When I was researching the recipe I came across something that said it wasn’t originally made with condensed milk (which makes sense as that is a relatively recent development). So it should be perfectly acceptable to just use plain milk. I’d imagine it’s best with full fat milk or even some cream though seeing as it’s not supposed to be good for you 😀

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