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Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Scottish Edinburgh Rock

Scottish Edinburgh Rock.

The Scottish confectionery industry is probably best known for its Edinburgh Rock. This is not the customary solid stick with letters down the centre but a light, pastel-coloured sugary confection, delicately flavoured, which requires a certain amount of care and dexterity in the making. It was discovered by accident when Alexander Fergusson, popularly known as 'Sweetie Sandy' came across a piece of confectionery which he had overlooked and left lying untouched for several months. He became one of 19th-century Edinburgh's most successful confectioners and Edinburgh Rock is now exported all over the world.

1 Ib granuated sugar (500 g)
7 and a half fl oz water (200 ml)
Pinch of cream of tartar

Flavouring and colouring:
lemon (yellow), peppermint (green), raspberry (pink),
vanilla (white), ginger (fawn), and orange.

Put the sugar and water into a pan and heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Just before it boils, add the cream of tartar. Boil till the temperature reaches 250°F/130°C or the sugar forms a hard ball when a little is dropped into some cold water. This is an important point since the sugar will be too sticky to 'pull' if it is not hard enough. If too hard it will not crystallise well. Remove from the heat and add colouring and flavouring. Let it stand for a few minutes to cool slightly, then pour it out onto a buttered marble slab or into buttered confectioner's candy bars (a buttered formica top will also do, provided you have cooled the sugar slightly before pouring out). Turn the edges into the centre as it cools with a buttered scraper. Do not stir. When it is cool enough to handle, dust it well with icing sugar and take it up in your hands. 'Pull' the sugar by letting it drop and then bringing it up again. Do not twist it. Continue this process till it starts to harden up, then pull into one long strip about half an inch (1cm) thick. Leave to set hard then break into even-sized pieces. Dust a tray with icing sugar and place the pieces of rock on it. Dust the rock with icing sugar and leave in a warm atmosphere till the rock becomes powdery and soft. The time this takes varies from one to two days up to a week. Store in an airtight tin.

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