I just recently discovered a love for these delicious fruit based gel candies that are jewel colored and tender to the bite. Called pate de fruit in France, here in Umbria I usually find them called fruit gelée in many of the upscale pastry shops (pasticceria) in Perugia. Made of pure fruit puree, these candies burst with flavor and are a perfect accompaniment to a cookie platter or alongside a dessert tray when entertaining.
These fruit candies also make great hostess gifts over the holidays. Although the professional fruit gelée are generally formed into fruit shapes, at home they are usually cut into small squares which are then rolled in sugar.
There are many ways to make these special treats, but basically fruit puree is sweetened and cooked down into a paste which is then poured into either molds or a pan to cool. Some recipes use gelatin to help the gelling process, while others use a fruit pectin usually reserved for jam and jelly making.
There are also recipes that simply cook the fruit puree with sugar and a little lemon juice until it thickens into a thick paste without the aid of any pectin or gelatin product. I researched many recipes before first trying my hand with the recipe I adapted from Helen’s Tartelette blog. When it comes to pastry or sweets, I generally stop by this blog for advice first before looking elsewhere. Unfortunately, I could not find liquid pectin while in Italy so I first tried the recipe using one envelope of a powdered pectin sold here in Italy called Fruttapec.
The resulting candy was delicious but a little softer than the ones I buy in my local pasticceria. I then made the candies a second time using Certo liquid after a recent trip to Canada, and found the the candies were the perfect texture. Unfortunately different brands of pectin may require different amounts as I found out personally. This recipe uses the Certo brand. I used very ripe peaches for these candies but you could use other kinds of fruit puree as well.
- 1 Pound Ripe Peaches Pitted And Cut Into Chunks
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Liquid Pectin (Certo Used)
- Line an 8 X 8 inch square cake pan with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Puree the peaches in a blender or food processor and then place in a medium mesh strainer over a bowl.
- Use a spoon to push as much of the flesh through the strainer as possible, and throw away leftover skin.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan heat the peach puree, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of the sugar and bring to a boil.
- Continue with a slow boil until the fruit begins to thicken and the excess liquid has evaporated. (This takes about 10 to 15 minutes.)
- Add the remaining sugar and the pectin and increase the heat bringing the mixture to 200 degrees F while stirring continually.
- Keep the heat at 200 degrees for 8 to 10 more minutes.
- The mixture should be very thick at this point.
- Pour the thickened mixture immediately into your pan and allow to cool for a few hours.
- Once the candy has cooled, use a sharp knife to cut it into 1 to 1 1/2 inch squares.
- Roll each square in sugar, and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them.