Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Edinburgh Rock.

After yesterday’s post I got to thinking about other ‘eponymous’ and attributed candies. I have covered many forms of candy (sweets, lollies) during the lifetime of this blog – including one for Tomato Marshmallow (links to the stories are below). The only specifically ‘named’ one that I can remember so far is Everton Toffee. The only other one that sprang to mind was Edinburgh Rock.

Edinburgh Rock is quite different from the ‘rock’ associated with English seaside towns, which is a long cylinder of violently coloured hard-boiled, teeth-shatteringly hard sugar candy with the name of the town ingeniously ‘written’ throughout its length. Edinburgh of course is neither English nor a ‘seaside’ town. Edinburgh’s candy rock has quite a different texture – not soft, but definitely more crumbly and powdery – the result, they say, of a mistake. The instructions in the recipe below are quite clear – you need to forget about it. Leave it naked and unwrapped at room temperature and go away for a day or so. I love successes that start out as mistakes – quite a lot of well-loved dishes began as memory lapses or undercooking or some other disaster. The idea might make a good series of blog posts one day, perhaps?

The famous candy was supposedly ‘discovered’ by a young scion of the Ferguson family in Glasgow. If you believe the stories, his father wanted him to be a carpenter, but the young fella wanted to make sweeties. He moved to Edinburgh to realise his dream. The dream came true when a batch of boiled sugar candy was forgotten for several days/weeks/months – the genius stroke being that it was not thrown out immediately on discovery, but was tasted firs, and Voila! the difference was immediately assigned a marketing edge. I assume the young man named it in honour of the rock upon which Edinburgh castle stands?

Edinburgh Rock.
1 lb. sugar.
Pinch cream of tartar.
½ pint water.
Color to taste.
Flavor to taste.
Dissolve the sugar in the water, stirring all the time; then add the cream of tartar and boil without stirring to 262 deg, or until it forms a hard ball when tried in cold water. Add the flavor and color if desired, and pour out on a buttered marble slab, between buttered candy bars.
As soon as it cools a little turn the corners and sides into the middle with a buttered knife, to insure regular pulling. When cool enough to handle, dust the fingers with sugar or rub them with oil and pull the candy until it turns dull. Pull it into strips and cut the required length with buttered scissors. Place on waxed paper and lay aside in a warm room for a day or two until it becomes powdery and granulated.
Keep in airtight tins.
Candies and Bonbons and how to Make Them, by Marion Harris Neil (Philadelphia, 1913)

If your town or state has its own named candy, I’d love to hear about it!
- A story called ‘Candy for health’, and a recipe for liquorish cakes

- A story about nougat and a recipe for sugared fruits (the original sweetmeats)

- A story about Kendal Mint Cake story with a recipe for ‘Sugar of Roses’
- A story about the Maquis de Sade, and a recipe for Caraway comfits
- A story about Lammas, and Yellowman (honeycomb toffee)
- Dulcia Domestica (Ancient Roman sweets made from dates)
- Candy in Cakes,
- Jelly Babies, Jujubes, and Dr.Who
- Barley sugar

Quotation for the Day.

I think most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.
Movie: 'So I Married and Axe Murderer'.


Edinburgh Flats to rent said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog post!

Challice said...

Thanks for recipe and explanation of origin. On a trip through the UK (more years ago than I care to remember) we were given Edinburgh rock by a relative, THEN kept buying the other kinds, with deep disappointment because it wasn't as good. So I always assumed that Edinburgh Rock was the original rock and the pinnacle the others were unable to achieve. Nice to know it was rather a demonstration of the scottish inability to throw out anything.