Author Notes: A few months ago I started seeing different flavors of Pate de Fruit tubs in most of my local grocery stores, which is kind of like a firm gel-like fruit paste, very popular in France. I started with plum earlier in the summer and moved onto pear and fig a month or so ago. I've been eating them so much, I decided to try my hand at making some myself. After a number of attempts and a lot of research to get the texture, consistency and flavor right, I finally hit on the right combination to share this morning. I originally worked with strained pears for the pear juice, which was quite a bit of work, and then dramatically simplified the recipe by using unsweetened 100% pure pear juice. Just make sure it doesn't have anything else in it except maybe ascorbic acid which is used to maintain the color. The brand I used was R.W. Knudsen, but I'm sure there are others just as good. I infused a rosemary flavor into the pear juice to add a little savory to the sweet since I like pair it with a nice cheddar cheese on a cracker. But if you aim towards a full-on sweet flavor, eliminate the rosemary and roll in fine granular sugar at the end. Oh, and did I mention this only takes about 30 minutes to make and 2 - 3 hours to completely set up? You'll need a candy thermometer, or one that goes to 225 F, but it's easy peasy! Your friends will think you worked all day on it. Serve as a light dessert or appetizer. —TheWimpyVegetarian
Makes: one slab, 6-1/2" x 6-1/2" x 1/2" thick (once trimmed)
teaspoons cream of tartar
cups 100% Pear Juice (see head notes)
teaspoon Kosher salt
large sprig fresh rosemary
tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
tablespoon light corn syrup
ounces liquid pectin
pinch dried rosemary
- Line an 8" X 8" glass baking pan with 2 layers of foil. One foil layer will be spread across the pan horizontally; the other will be spread across the pan vertically so that the two sheets are at right angles to each other. Tuck the foil thoroughly into the corners of the pan. Do not think you can do this later while the pate de fruit cooks!
- In a small bowl, combine the cream of tartar with the water to make a slurry. Set aside.
- Pour the pear juice into a small saucepan, add the rosemary sprig and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes to infuse the pear juice with the rosemary.
- Add the lemon juice, sugar and light corn syrup, and insert a candy thermometer probe into the liquid. Turn the heat to medium high, keeping a close eye on the temperature. Your first goal is to get the liquid to 220 F, and It will get there fairly quickly (a couple minutes at most). NOTE: Be very careful with any splattering, as there are few things you'll ever cook on the stove hotter than making candy. I use a thermometer where the probe is separate from a box-like read-out panel which tells me the temperature. If you don't have something like this, consider wearing gloves, or wrap your hand in a towel when checking or repositioning the probe.
- When the liquid hits 220 F, keep the mixture boiling at that temperature for 2 - 3 minutes by adjusting the heat if necessary. Remove the rosemary with a slotted spoon, add the liquid pectin and the dried rosemary, and increase the heat so that the liquid slowly climbs to 223 F. This may take a little longer than you might expect, so keep increasing the heat by small increments as needed. It took me an additional 5 - 7 minutes to get from 220 F to 223 F. Once the liquid reaches 223 F, continue to boil the liquid for an additional 3 minutes. The temperature will occasionally go higher, but by adjusting the (gas) heat I was able to manage the temperature very easily. If you have an electric stove, it will be much more difficult and you may need to remove the pot from the stove intermittently.
- Turn the heat off and add the slurry. Whisk to dissolve as quickly as possible and IMMEDIATELY pour into your prepared dish. Let sit for 3 hours to completely set up.
- Use the foil, lift the pate de fruit out of the pan and turn over. Carefully peel the foil from the bottom and turn the pate de fruit over so that the best side faces up. Trim the sides, and slice into cubes or cut out shapes with a sharp cookie cutter.
- Cut some cheddar cheese. Pull out some of your favorite crackers. Stack and devour.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Holiday Confection