Hi, my name is Daisy, and I am a sugarholic!
My lastest sweet obsession is pâté de fruit, or French fruit jellies, which are soft and chewy fruit-flavored candies rolled in sugar. Pâté de fruit are made from pureéd fruit which is cooked down with sugar and pectin to a thick “jammy” consistency. Then, the cooked fruit paste is poured into a pan, cooled, and cut into shapes before being rolled in sugar. Alternatively, the cooked mixture can be poured into silicone molds to make individually-shaped candies.
The pâtés de fruit candies you can purchase from Recchiutti Confections or La Maison du Chocolat can be fairly pricey, so I had the audacity make them myself. The process seemed simple enough, but did not turn out to be so easy for me. No wonder they are expensive!
My first two attempts were disastrous; the first never quite set resulting in a gooey orange blobs while the second set too fast into a hard rubbery mess. For my third attempt, I abandoned the recipe I was using in favor of the one in Savory Simple instead. Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your recipe! (By the way, please check out her beautiful blog for more great recipes.) The result was much better this time around, but the texture was still not as firm as I wanted.
Since I’d already invested a lot of time and effort on this project, I decided to give it one last try. (I’m either a glutton for punishment or I really love a challenge. A little of both, perhaps?) I didn’t really change the Savory Simple recipe very much. I just tweaked it a little by adding a tiny bit more pectin and cooking it a little longer. This batch was my best yet, much closer to the true pâté de fruit texture than my previous attemtps.
Making these treats takes time, attention and patience. It also requires a lot of whisking and stirring while the fruit mixture cooks. I think I burned enough calories with my arm workout to not feel guilty about eating the entire batch! Eventually, the bubbling cauldron of fruit was transformed from hot molten lava into a thick paste. I had to work quickly to get the mixture spooned into my silicone mold and smoothed. Once cooled, the candies released from the mold easily. They were soft, but firm and slightly chewy. My efforts had finally paid off. These jewel-like candies were a combination of sweet and tart with a concentrated passion fruit taste, at the fraction of the price of the store-bought ones.
Passion Fruit and Vanilla Bean Pâtés de Fruit
Yields about 18 1-1/2 inch square candies
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened applesauce (2.75 ounces)
2 teaspoons pectin (3 ounces)
1 2/3 cups sugar (11 ounces), plus more for tossing
1 cup passion fruit purée (8 ounces), Les Vergers Boiron* or Goya** brand
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 1/2 tablespoons glucose syrup or corn syrup (.75 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (.25 ounces)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Spread the applesauce in thin layer on a baking sheet and place it in the oven for 30 minutes to remove the moisture.
If using a baking pan to form the pâtés de fruit, line it with parchment paper. (I used a silicone mold with 1-1/2″ square shapes.)
Blend the pectin with a few spoonfuls of the sugar . Set aside.
Combine the applesauce, fruit purée. vanilla bean seeds, and glucose syrup in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Add the pectin/sugar mixture and whisk to incorporate. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. The mixture will begin to thicken.
Add approximately half of the sugar and return the mixture to a boil, whisking the entire time. Add the remaining sugar and whisk for 5-8 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Cook for about 30 seconds.
The mixture will start to thicken as soon as it is off the heat so immediately pour it into the prepared pan. If you’re using a silicone mold, leave the pan on the stove and reduce the heat to low. Pay close attention and stir the mixture frequently to prevent it from setting too quickly while in the process of filling the mold. Work quickly to spoon the mixture into each cavity of the mold and smooth the top with a spatula or shake the mold to even it out. Allow the pâté de fruit to cool at least 12 hours or overnight.
The candies in the mold should release easily. If using a baking pan, flip the cooled pâté de fruit out onto a cutting board covered with parchment and then flip it back to the “presentation” side and cut to desired shape and size. Toss with sugar and serve.
** Goya Brand fruit pulps are found in the freezer section of many grocery stores and markets.
Adapted from Savory Simple.
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