Sucre à la Crème

Sucre à la Crème is a special French Canadian fudge seen mostly at Christmastime, but only because it's just too good and too tempting to have available all year long! Some things you just have to keep for special occasions.

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To me, sucre à la crème is the utmost indulgence. It’s a simple and pure and S-W-E-E-T fudge! The literal translation of sucre à la crème is “sugar with cream” and that is just about all there is to it. With only four, very readily available ingredients – brown sugar, white sugar, heavy cream and butter – the key to this recipe comes in how you put these four ingredients together. There is one key tool that is relatively important to the recipe (or at least makes it much easier to make) – a candy thermometer. It’s an inexpensive and worthwhile investment and a good addition to your kitchen arsenal. 

A pot of sugar and cream on a trivet with a candy thermometer sticking out of it.

The only trick to making this fudge variation is to watch temperatures – and when I say “watch”, I mean don’t walk away from the stove when you’re doing this. You want to bring the sugar to “soft ball” stage, which is around 235ºF to 240ºF. Soft ball stage (not to be confused with softball stage, which might have been those teenage years when baseball just seemed too hard to play) is the temperature at which sugar will form a soft, squish-able ball when dropped into cold water. Understandably, it’s much easier to test this with a thermometer than by dropping a little sugar into an ice bath and pinching it with your fingers. The sugars and cream will boil away as the mixture comes to this temperature, which is when you want to stand by for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s a terrible mess to clean up if you let the mixture boil over. Secondly, you want to make sure you remove the pot from the stovetop as soon as it reaches 240ºF and not let it go over 240ºF.

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Beaters beating cooled sugar and cream - part of making sucre a la creme.

Then, it is key to let the mixture cool to about 110ºF. If you just let the sugars and cream sit in the saucepan on the stovetop, this could take as long as 45 to 60 minutes. That’s no big deal if you’re making a day out doing things in the kitchen, but if you want to cool it a little faster, transfer the mixture to a bowl and place it in a cool water bath. Then, it’s time to start beating air into the mix. When you begin to beat, the mixture will have a glossy sheen – pay attention to that.

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Beaters beating cooled sugar and cream - part of making sucre a la creme.

Pay attention because as you beat (and what you want to watch for this to happen) the mixture will lose its glossy look, take on a lighter color and become more opaque. The beaters will leave a trail behind them as they beat – that’s the first sign you’re getting close. 

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A hand mixer resting over a bowl of sucre a la creme.

It is somewhat important to know when to stop beating the mixture and unfortunately experience is the best teacher in this regard. The goal is to stop while the mixture is still pourable. If you beat it too much, it will thicken too much and you won’t be able to pour it into your cake pan, but don’t despair. If this happens to you, you can spoon and spread the mixture into the cake pan, pushing the fudge into all four corners of the pan. You’ll know to beat it for a minute or two less next time. 

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A square cake pan with sucre a la creme poured into it.

Then, let the fudge sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. It will set into a fairly firm layer and if you’ve remembered to line your cake pan with parchment paper, you should be able to remove it from the cake pan relatively easily. 

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Sucre a la creme in the process of being cut into squares.

Cut it into 36 little squares. Trust me, you really don’t want the pieces to be bigger than this. Sucre à la crème is so intense and so rich and sweet that a little goes a long way. I’ve only ever been able to eat one or two pieces at a time (ok…maybe three). 

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A plate of sucre à la crème squares with a mug and more fudge in background.

 

Sucre à la Crème

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 15 m
  • Cooling Time: 2 h 45 m
  • Total Time: 3 h 10 m
  • Servings:
    36
    little squares

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  1. Combine the white sugar, brown sugar and heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium low heat until sugar dissolves. Stop stirring and boil the ingredients until they reach a temperature of 235ºF to 240ºF on a candy thermometer.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to 110ºThis could take 45 to 60 minutes. If you’re in a hurry, you can put the saucepan into a cool ice bath and it will cool more quickly.
  3. While you wait for the sugars to cool, line an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper and sides of the pan. (Don’t grease the bottom of the pan or the parchment will stick to the pan and be more difficult to release.)
  4. Once the sugars have cooled, add the butter and beat the mixture with an electric mixer until the mixture is no longer glossy. This should take only a few minutes.
  5. As soon as you can, pour the mixture into the prepared pan. (If the mixture no longer pours easily, don’t fret – just transfer the thick mixture to the cake pan and smooth it down as well as you can with a spatula.)

  6. Refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight. Turn out onto cutting board and cut into squares.
  7. Store in an air-tight container with parchment in between each layer, for up to two weeks. Joyeux temps des fetes!
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Comments (7)Post a Reply

  1. I did something wrong – it was grainy and did not really set up even after being in the fridge overnight. A couple of questions – is 235 degrees hot enough, or does it need to get to 240? Should it stay on medium-low heat the entire time, or after the sugar finally dissolves should the heat be turned up? All suggestions are welcome and appreciated!

    1. Hi Brian. Many people say that the sugar needs to get to 238 degrees. I push it to 240 degrees to make sure and to account for inaccuracies in thermometers. It doesn’t have to be on medium-low heat, but if you turn the heat up make sure you don’t leave the stovetop. It’s important to make sure you take the pot OFF the heat right at 240ºF and it’s important to let the fudge cool to 110ºF before you start beating it. Then, make sure you beat it until you really can see a change in the appearance and texture of the fudge. I prefer to beat it too much than to beat it too little. Too little and it will not set enough to be picked up. Too much and you can still press it into a cake pan to set further. Hope that helps a little.

  2. 5 stars
    Tried for a holiday treat and will make it a tradition. Reminded us of candies purchased on trips to parts of Canada and brought back great memories. The recipe was spot on and we highly recommend it.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this recipe just as descriibed. Meredith is not jjoking about not having it around all year. This fudge is delicious. I gave some to my brother, now this fudge is all he thinks of!!!! The taste is excellent and the recipe is an easy one. Thanks Meredith. I will make this again.

  4. I think this is what my Granny made. But she stirred it, I don’t think she had a mixer. I can still hear the sound as she would make fudge…as she would stir it a certain way to get it to cool and set…want to make it and see if the taste is the same. Hugs, Di

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