Thursday, February 7, 2013

One of my favourite cafés in Toronto called La Bohème sells wrapped Pâte de Fruit de Provence. These melt-in-your-mouth, European-style, sugar-coated fruit confections (I really don’t want to call them jellies, because to me the word conjures up gummy or hard jujube-type candies) are soft, delicious bars of concentrated fruit. And they are my husband’s favourite.

My second inspiration came from the very beautiful book Chocolates and Confections (at home with The Culinary Institute of America) by Peter P. Greweling, which gave me the confidence to tackle my first attempt at simple candy making. (Btw, if you already make jams and jellies at home, it should be even less daunting to make a slab of this sweet). The third facilitator was a candy thermometer that went on sale at Whole Foods for $2.99. I took that as a sign that I had to make it for Marcin. And I’m so happy and proud that I did! My frozen mixed berries from summer turned into dark beauties with a divine texture. If you heart fruit and want to make something different, these are quite special. Happy Valentine's Day, my love.

Pâte de Fruit

2 cups frozen fruit (mix of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and a few pitted cherries)
3 cups sugar
1 box (2 pouches) Certo liquid pectin (at 85ml each, have pouches open and ready to pour)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup sugar, for coating

Things needed: blender, candy thermometer

© 2013

Oil, butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray a 9 x 13 baking pan and line well with plastic wrap, making sure to flatten it to minimize bubbles and wrinkles, especially in the corners of the pan. Do not let excess plastic drape over the pan, but allow it to stay on the inside edge. Set aside.

Cook down frozen fruit in a large saucepan on med. heat, just until its juices are flowing and no ice can be seen. Slightly cool and transfer to a blender, which is then puréed to medium-fine (take care when blending and make sure to slightly vent the lid so steam can escape).

© 2013

Put fruit purée and sugar in the same saucepan, which is now on med. high heat. You must stir constantly (to also prevent the bottom of the saucepan from scorching) and cook the purée until the temperature reaches 238°F (the bowl you used for sugar can be where you put the candy thermometer in once the temperature reaches 238°F, or else you will end up putting the thermometer on the counter, when you have to rush to get the boiled purée in its pan).

Once it reaches 238°F, quickly add the pectin and return the mixture to a boil while stirring, for 1 minute.

Stir in lemon juice and take pan off heat (and don't forget to turn off heat).

Quickly pour hot mixture onto prepared pan and sprinkle thin layer of sugar evenly on the top.

© 2013

Let pan completely cool (two hours or longer) on a rack.

Turn the pan upside down on a large cutting board to release jelly. Peel off plastic wrap. Sprinkle thin layer of sugar evenly on top.

© 2013

Use small cookie cutters or cut into desired pieces and roll each piece in sugar. It is best presented the same day it's made. Extras you can store in an airtight container, between layers of plastic wrap or parchment, in a cool, dry place, but keep in mind the sugars will dissolve. The rest of the batch you can keep all to yourself, or share with those who don't mind sticky, yummy, coloured fingers.

© 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment