For a former pupil – Scottish Tablet

This is one of the recipes I use to ameliorate the effects termly assessments (the other two being Mary Berry’s Aga shortbread and
Judges chocolate brownies).

It’s not to be made – or eaten – without care. Hazardous and highly calorific, but it appeals to the Scot in me and reminds me of the lovely crunchy fudge my mum used to make.

The grandmother of one of my former pupils approached me for the recipe, saying that her granddaughter pined for it.

With no more ado…

Scottish Tablet is not, as it sounds, something to write on; it is a sweet Scottish, fudge-like, extremely sugary sweet. Tablet contains sugar, butter and condensed milk and, as you can see in this recipe, it is easy to make.

A warning: this recipe reaches very high temperatures, so ask Mum or Dad to make it, then go and play outside.

Talking to Mum or dad now: for safety’s sake you need a large pan: the Scottish tablet reaches a rolling boil and sometimes, if you have the heat even a little too high, the mixture can swell up very quickly and boil over. The pan should at least be a heavy based 4-pint saucepan, but even that will hardly be big enough if you try to cook all the ingredients at once. I made mine in three batches.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


1 pint/500ml water
8oz/225g butter, chopped into pieces
4 lbs/1.8kg super fine/caster sugar
1lb/450g of condensed milk


1. Butter a 12″ x 4″/30cm x 10cm or 7″/18cm square tin.

2. In your saucepan (see note above) heat the water to a low simmer then add the butter. Stir until melted. Add the sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat to high and bring the sugar to a hard boil for 5 minutes (the mixture should boil really fiercely which helps to reduce the liquid and colour the mixture) stirring all the time to prevent the sugar from sticking and burning. If you have a thermometer take the temperature to 120°C/ 250°F (also known as hard ball stage in sweet and toffee making).

3. Once the sugar is boiling, slowly add the condensed milk – TAKE CARE – the sugar is at a very high temperature and may splatter. Stir well then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. The mixture will bubble and resemble a moon crater, but don’t be put off, keep cooking. The mixture will also start to slightly darken.

4. After twenty minutes or once the mixture is visibly thickened, remove the pan from the stove and stir the mixture vigorously for 5 – 10 minutes.

5. Pour into the greased pan and when the tablet is cool but still soft, cut into 1″ squares. You can even put the pan in the freezer to make sure it is completely cold.

6. Wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin.

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