Pâte de Fruit (pronounced paht duh fwee), or as I like to call them, "Gumdrops for Grownups," are a delicious fruit jelly candy made with fruit preserves, pectin, and sugar...lots of sugar. While it would be a stretch to call them healthy, since they are made with real fruit instead of artificial fruit flavors, they are a better tasting, visually striking, and more wholesome alternative to candies like gumdrops and gummis.
Making Pâte de Fruit can be very challenging. Fair warning, this is not a quick and easy recipe. Be prepared to set aside at least an hour and a half - a very busy hour for cooking and a half hour for cutting and dusting. The most challenging aspect of making these is that the amount of pureed fruit, the amount of pectin, and the amount of sugar, all vary with the type of fruit puree used. In fact, manufacturers of fancy fruit purees, like Les vergers Boiron, publish cheat sheets for pastry chefs that show the proper amounts to use by puree.
I can only attest to the fact that the proportions in this recipe will work for store bought raspberry or guanabana puree and the brand of pectin I used. What is guanabana? Guanabana, or soursop, is a fruit native to Central and South America that tastes like a cross between strawberries, pineapple, and banana. It is also used by some as an alternative cancer treatment. I chose it because when I saw it in my local Hispanic grocery store, I realized I had no idea what it was or what it tasted like. So of course I had to buy some and cook with it!
Step 1: Ingredients and Gear
- 4 cups Goya Guanabana Puree (thawed)
- 5 cups + 7 tbsp Sugar (plus more for dusting)
- 2/3 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
- 1 1/2 tbsp 4mular High Methoxyl Yellow Pectin*
- 1 tbsp Citric Acid Powder dissolved in 1/4 cup water (I recommend this one)
Gear (with links to the ones I used):
- 2-Quart Stainless Steel Saucier
- Sturdy Whisk
- Sheet pan
- Candy Thermometer
- Parchment Paper
- Measuring cups, spoons, etc...
*The type of pectin is critical. The first few times I tried to make these I failed because I tried to use regular store pectin. You must use Powdered Yellow Pectin.
Step 2: Prep the Pectin
In a bowl mix the yellow pectin with 7 tbsp of sugar. This will keep the pectin from clumping when it is added to the puree.
Step 3: Heat the Puree
I can't stress this enough...this is a slow process. It is essential that you use low heat all throughout the process. Primarily it is to keep the mixture from scorching and burning. Secondarily, this stuff pops and bubbles, and if it gets too hot too fast, it is going to pop and bubble onto your skin and burn you. In fact, it is a good idea to wear long sleeves when making this, just in case. Pictured is what I set my stove at.
Our goal is to heat the puree to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Whisk in Pectin
Whisk in the pectin/sugar mixture from the previous step. Get used to whisking, because from here on out you are whisking constantly until you are done.
Once the pectin/sugar mixture is mixed in well, let the liquid get to a boil (around the same boiling point as water) and leave it boil for a minute or two.
Step 5: Add Corn Syrup and Sugar...Slowly!
Slowly drizzle the corn syrup into the liquid and whisk thoroughly. If you notice, the temperature of the mixture will drop a little. Let it get back up to at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit before starting to add the sugar. This is done for two reasons, one, if the mixture gets too cool, it might not set properly, and two, by keeping the temperature up the last step won't take as long.
Add the sugar into the mixture about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup at a time. Whisk well and try to keep the temperature between 190-200 degrees Fahrenheit by adding sugar slowly, whisking, waiting, then adding more sugar. This step usually takes me at least 45 minutes. Once all the sugar has been mixed in, it is on to the next step.
Step 6: Onward to 223 Degrees
Continue heating the mixture until it reaches 223 degrees Fahrenheit. This might take a long time, depending on how low the temperature got when adding sugar. If you added it slowly enough, this shouldn't take forever, but getting from 210 to 223 could take a lot longer than you might think. You will be tempted to turn up the heat. Don't. Just be patient and keep whisking at eventually you will get there. You will know because the mixture will be bubbling and boiling as show in the pictures. Once you get there, it is on to the next step.
Step 7: Citric Acid
Dissolve the citric acid in 1/4 cup of water by stirring. Make sure it is thoroughly dissolved. The picture shows what the water will look like when you are done. Notice it is not cloudy at all. Add this mixture to the saucier and whisk for 1-2 minutes more.
Step 8: Pour and Wait. Then Cut.
Pour the mixture carefully and slowly into a sheet pan lined with the parchment paper. Let it sit until it cools to room temperature. This may take a few hours. In this case, I waiting about an hour and a half.
Using a knife (it doesn't have to be a particularly sharp one, I used a steak knife), slice into cubes. Using the chopper-scraper, slowly lift the cubes off the parchment paper and separate.
Step 9: Dusting, Dusting, Dusting...Fruit Jellies!
Place a little extra sugar on a small plate. Gently coat all the sides of the jellies with sugar. I like to stack them on a plate separated by parchment paper until I am done, then I store them in a plastic container. To be on the safe side, store them in the refrigerator. They don't keep past a week or two, so be sure to share!