Loquat and Strawberry Pate de Fruits Recipe (French Fruit Jelly Candies)

Loquat and Strawberry Pate de Fruits Recipe (French Fruit Jelly Candies) Recipe

These ancient sweets are called pâte de fruits "maison". "Maison" means house in French. The candies are very easy and require only a few ingredients: fruit pulp, pectin and sugar. The flavor is similar to fruit leather, but with a softer texture.

I made strawberry fruit purée and added fresh loquats as well. The key is to use freshly picked, extremely ripe, naturally sweet fruits to ensure optimum flavor. Once the fruit pulp is cooked, you'll need to air-dry the candies for at least 12 hours, cut them and roll them in sugar. The texture should be soft and the taste should be fruity, without being overly sweet.

I usually make these candies when I have very ripe fruits in the garden. You could make them from any fruit purée, such as blackberries, quince, blueberries, cherries, lemon, gooseberries, cantaloupe, peach or plum. Let your imagination run wild! I've always found making homemade candies so much fun because of how flexible the recipes are.

These "mignardises" (pretty, delicate sweets in French) are delicious to take to a picnic or as homemade gifts. That is, if you don’t finish them off first!

Ingredients

Yields: 50 candies

3 pints fresh strawberries, you might need more to reach 18 oz of fruit purée
½ cup fresh loquats
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
5-½ teaspoons powdered pectin
½ teaspoon citric acid powder, +1/8 teaspoon for coating
3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder (optional)

1 candy thermometer


Directions

The day before...

In one bowl, combine 1-¼ cups sugar with pectin. Mix well. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine 1-¼ cups sugar and citric powder. Set aside.

Wash, peel and seed the loquats. Coarsely chop them and place them in a blender.

Stem the strawberries and add them to the blender as well. Blend the fruits. Strain the pulp through a medium-mesh sieve, using a silicone spatula to press through as much fruit purée as possible. Discard the solids.

Using a digital scale, weigh 18 ounces of the seedless fruit purée.

Place a candy thermometer on the wall of a small pot. Fill with the fruit purée. Bring to a boil, then immediately add the pectin/sugar mix. Stir well and bring back to a boil; add the other citric/sugar mix and the light corn syrup. Stir well using a wooden spoon and cook until the temperature reaches 221-223°F. It will take some time until it reaches a rolling boil (pretty scary , don't forget to wear flame-resistant oven mitts), remains the same temperature and cooks for an additional 3 minutes.

Pour the hot purée into the cavities of the mold (see tips). I used a 0.34-ounce, 84 Cavities silicone mini-financier Flexipan.

Cover with a mesh umbrella food cover and let sit in a warm, dry area for 12 hours (overnight).

The next day...

On a plate, combine 1/8 teaspoon citric powder, vanilla powder (if used) and ½ cup granulated sugar. Mix well.

Once the candies are dried (less sticky to the finger), unmold them; they should be firm but still moist to the touch. Roll them in the vanilla sugar mix using a fork.

You can store the pâte de fruits in the pantry in an airtight metallic tin. Just make sure the candies don't stay in contact with the air too long, otherwise they will turn soggy because of the humidity.

Bon appétit!


Tips

To make pâte de fruits, count the same weight of fruit purée to granulated sugar.

Aunt Danielle brought more loquats, so I used them to give the pâte de fruits a tart and slightly citrusy flavor. You could use any other fruit combination. Be creative!

Citric acid is a white powder that you can easily find in any Indian store.

For easy unmolding, I used a silicone mini-financier mold I just received for my birthday. You could use an 8-inch square pan, previously lined with parchment paper, then cut the candies into pieces after drying, but I find it a bit messy.

I buy pure vanilla powder at my local market. It's called the Milk Pail Market. The address is 2585 California Street, Mountain View, CA 94040. You can also find it online.

You could also cover the pâte de fruits with chocolate. The kids love it!

For faster drying time, you could also place them in your oven on the lowest setting.

 

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on July 9, 2010.


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