When I was in San Francisco a few months ago, I spent some time at the Ferry Building Marketplace, where I loaded up on delectable treats from Recchiuti Confections. One of my discoveries were their amazing pate de fruits, or French fruit jellies. Remember those Chuckles candies you ate as a kid? Well, these are not even in the same universe! Pate de fruits are soft, smooth, jammy and intensely fruity little confections that are so incredibly delicious they almost defy description. By the time I ate my way through two 1-pound boxes of those little gems, I was hopelessly addicted and knew I had to learn to make them myself to support my habit!
Back home, I began my pate de fruits project. I consulted my friend Jenni, who is a professional pastry chef. She not only had a great recipe, but also a whole confectioner's cheat sheet with the exact pectin to fruit formulas for pate de fruits in every possible flavor combination, and she was willing to share.
Jenni recommends making pate de fruits using pure fruit purees from the French company, Les vergers Boiron. Their purees come frozen in 1000 gram (2.2 pounds) packages. I ordered several different flavors online from Canelle Specialty Foods, and soon had enough fruit purees to open my own little pate de fruits shop! You certainly can make your own fruit purees out of fresh or frozen fruit if you dont want to go to the trouble or expense of ordering the Boiron. All you have to do is whiz up your fruit in a blender, strain out any chunky bits and you're good to go.
These pate de fruits contain only fruit, sugar, fruit pectin, lemon juice and a little corn syrup. The process for making them really isnt hard at all. It just takes a little time, attention and a good candy thermometer. You just cook all of the ingredients together and stir
Eventually, your bubbling, angry, molten mass of fruit lava becomes transformed, and you are rewarded with luscious wild strawberry and white peach pate de fruits that are even more heavenly than Recchiutis!
If youve never made pate de fruits before, I urge you to give it a try. They are utterly divine and so much better than anything you can buy in a store. Trust me, you will become totally infatuated. Just dont say I didnt warn you!
Pate de Fruits
I've given the measurements for this recipe in grams because that's how they were given to me. I purposely didn't convert them because the measurements must be precise. You should be able to weigh out your ingredients in grams using any good kitchen scale. This is how the pros (and the rest of the world) do it, so just pretend you are a famous professional French pastry chef and you'll be just fine!
Pate de Fruits
For the strawberry:
1000 grams strawberry puree (If you use Boiron, it is one 2.2 pound container)
1100 grams sugar
200 grams corn syrup
15 grams lemon juice
24 grams powdered pectin (I used Sure Jell brand)
For the white peach:
1000 grams white peach puree
900 grams sugar
200 grams corn syrup
12 grams lemon juice
25 grams powdered pectin
1. Mix about 100 grams of sugar with the pectin. Whisk them together really well. This helps keep your pate de fruits from having pectin globs in it. So just do it! Set aside.
2. In a large, tall-sided pot, heat the fruit puree to 120 degrees. F. Whisk and whisk, and add the pectin/sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for one minute.
3. Add the corn syrup and the rest of the sugar. Stirring constantly, cook to 223 degrees, F. This could take a very long time. Your thermometer will read 218, and youll think, Oh, Im almost there! Wipe that grin off your face. It is going to take a while, so settle in and make sure youre wearing long sleeves and heavy duty oven mitts. The mixture will bubble up and spit at you like crazy! Once the mixture reaches the correct temperature, stir in the lemon juice. Cook one minute more and then remove from the heat.
4. Very carefully pour the fruit mixture into a half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Let it set up at room temperature until cool and slice-able. This will take another few hours. Once firm, slice the pate de fruits into small squares or cut into shapes with tiny cookie cutters. Roll them in granulated sugar and enjoy!