Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pate de Fruits or Apricot Jam?

Okay, I'm in the experimental phase. Is that a summer thing? Does sunshine make me feel more daring? Possibly. For whatever reason, I'm trying different things in the kitchen. Here's one more experiment. Bear with me.

A few weeks ago, I shared a CHEESE PLATTER  that had some fun little candy-looking squares on it. The squares were fruit, and they had the consistency of a gumdrop, soft and chewy. They added just the perfect amount of sweetness to a bite of cheese and there was no mess.

I wanted to know how to make them, so I went on line and looked up what they might be. I'd never seen them before.  They are called Pate de Fruits.  The recipe looked simple, but other than fudge and peanut brittle, I have never made candy.

I bought  pectin, which is a hetereopolysaccharide. Yeah, I know. Way more than you or I want to know. Simply put, it's a gelling agent.

I had fresh apricots from my step-son's tree. I had sugar, lemons, and a candy thermometer.

How hard could making these little suckers be? Note: The recipe warned me to wear potholders because the concoction can spit. My daring, um, quaked...

I started to get a little scared.

Don't be. Nothing spit. I did not get hurt. You won't either.



1 cup fruit puree ** see RECIPE below
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
3/4 tablespoons pectin powder


Wear long sleeves. You do not want to get burned by boiling sugar! {It didn't spit that much, but better safe than sorry, right?}

You need a sugar/candy thermometer.

Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of the sugar with pectin. Whisk together.
Heat the fruit puree in a deep saucepan to 120 degrees.
Add the pectin mixture and whisk. Bring to boil for one minute.
Mix rest of sugar and 1/8 cup water. Add this to the saucepan. Cook to 223 degrees. This could take a ton of time. (But it didn’t take a long time for my concoction. Go figure.)

Now for some, your thermometer will rise steadily and you’ll think, “I’m close,” but it isn’t so. (Except for me, it was. I'm not sure why. Maybe my heat was too high? Nothing burned.) Keep going.

At 223 degrees, pour the mixture into an (prepare ahead) 8x8 pan, which has been lined with heavy plastic wrap. Let the mixture set to room temperature. It will cool so that it is sliceable.  This might take a long time. (It did. All night.)

Now the recipe I got from the internet said I could cut the resulting candy into any shape, with cookie cutters or knife. But my experiment didn't gel up that much. It tasted terrific, but it was more the texture of a very thick jam. I was able to make a few squares out of it. I rolled them in granulated sugar  (extra to the recipe above). 

The JAM was absolutely fabulous on a cracker with cheese, on toast, on ice cream.

Note: If your texture comes out better than mine, then for kids, you can make a “Sourpatch” taste, by rolling in sugar that has been laced with lemon or lime juice.

Apricot Puree Recipe
12 apricots
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon water

To peel the apricots, fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Using tongs, dip an apricot into the water, set aside. When all apricots have been dunked, peel them. The skins should slip off pretty easily. Remove pits.

Put the apricots into a blender. Add the juice and water and puree.  Pour mixture into a container. Set in the refrigerator until ready to use. (No more than 24 hours.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Book 2 in A Cheese Shop Mystery series launched in May: Lost and Fondue. If you'd like to order a copy, click this booksellers link on my website. To see a trailer, click HERE. To read an excerpt, click HERE. If you you'd like to find out more about the series or want to download a few recipes from me (on recipe cards, including a recipe for fondue), click HERE. And be sure to catch me on my other blog, Killer Characters, and on Facebook and Twitter @AveryAames.  SAY CHEESE!


  1. This is very intriguing. Doesn't sound that hard to do. I love kitchen experiments, Avery!

    ~ Krista

  2. I admit I'm a coward. Not making any food that may bite back. But congratulations on your successful attempt.

  3. This is wonderful. I am addicted to Aplets and Cotlets - names for pate de fruit made of apples and apricots, trademarked by the Californian who invented it.

    (For anyone curious, just Google those names together -- Aplets and Cotlets, noting the one "P" in Aplet. And you must Google the names together; otherwise, you'll get a host of techie Web sites for computer applets!)

    I usually purchase those sweet little gems around holiday time, but with all the summer fruits available now (at a good price), I can't wait to try making my own. And in the interest of not wanting to waste food on a bad plan, it is *extremely* helpful to know that this recipe worked! Thank you, Avery!! :)

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. Cleo, it worked "enough" but it wasn't by any means perfect. I won't be going into business soon. I would still by the A&P brand. However, the jam was great! Maybe I needed more pectin?
    Liz, I know what you mean about being leery of cooking things that fight back! LOL.
    (and now Krista, back to my previously scheduled program.)

  5. Avery - Got it! A little more pectin. I should also correct my error. Aplets and Cotlets were invented in Washington State (not CA as I previously said). The little roll in sugar is a good idea. The Aplet people roll theirs in confectioners' sugar, so I'll bet that would also work to help firm up the sides of a softer candy. Fun post!

    ~ Cleo