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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Recipe: Blood Orange Pate de Fruits

Recipe: Blood Orange Pate de Fruits

Cabin Fever Candy!

Just 18 hours into Winter Storm Juno, and I am already feeling a little stir-crazy. I've never been good at sitting still, and everyone has their limits when it comes to how much Netflix they can binge watch.

The solution - as typically is the case for such moments of restlessness: a little kitchen time... specifically for some Blood Orange Pate de Fruits.

Blood Orange Pate de Fruits

And what exactly is this "Pate de Fruits" stuff?

It's delicious. Next question...

Pate de Fruits (PAHT-duh-fweeh) is a traditional French confiserie or sugar-based candy. As  chewy, soft-textured, fruit-flavored confections, they are common sights on Petits Fours trays.

The ingredients for Pate de Fruits are simple enough, making this a great product for flavor experiments.
  • Fruit Juice or Puree: The base flavoring agent. It is possible to use either homemade preparations or to purchase commercially manufactured purees. As the composition of a puree can vary significantly from fruit to fruit (i.e. natural sugar and pectin content), most manufacturers will provide specific recipes for Pate de Fruit on their websites. 
  • Sugar: Added for both sweetness and structure. Sugar is required to help catalyze the gelling of the candy.
  • Pectin: A thickener that occur naturally in many fruits. It is the thickener of choice in most jam and jelly making. Powdered Pectin (HM Pectin) gels in the presence of sugar and acid.
  • Acid: The second ingredient required to catalyze the gelling strength of Pectin. Acid can be introduced in natural form (i.e. in lemon juice) or in a derived form (i.e. powdered citric acid).

This recipe uses a Liquid Pectin (such were the limitations of NYC grocery stores). This product pre-combines the pectin and acids in order to facilitate the gelling process once it is added to a heated base of juice and sugar.

'Tis the season for citrus... 

Although it always feels somewhat counter intuitive, Winter is the season when many citrus fruits are at their sweetest and juiciest. Perhaps it's Natures way of enticing us to consume a little extra vitamin C during these dark and dreary months.  

But do yourself a favor and sample some winter citrus: Blood Orange, Grapefruit, Meyer Lemon, Tangerine, Pomelo, Clementine, Kumquats. They are all at the peak of deliciousness right now.

Blood Oranges

Sliced Blood Orange

Close-Up of Fruit of Blood Orange

Blood Orange Pate de Fruits:

Yield: One Half Sheet Tray (18"x13")... or any shaped mold you may desire

  • Blood Orange, Juice: 400g (~6 count)
  • Meyer Lemon: 50g (~2 count)
  • Sugar: 600g
  • Liquid Pectin (Certo): 170mL

Other Equipment:
  • Candy Thermometer
  • High-sided Pot


1. Prepare the molds. If using a half sheet tray, line the tray with a silpat. For metal or plastic molds, apply a light coating of non-stick spray and wipe away any excess with a paper towel.

2. Juice the Blood Oranges and Meyer Lemons. Strain the Juice of any seeds or pulp. Combine the Juice with the Sugar in a large pot with high sides. 

Chef's Note: The pot must have high sides. The volume of the Juice and Sugar mixture will triple once it approaches the target temperature range. 

3. Heat the mixture to 225 degrees Fahrenheit while stirring (be careful, as the volume will increase significantly once it reaches the boiling point). Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Liquid Pectin. Continue stirring for one minute.

Chef's Note: Heating the mixture to different temperatures will result in different tastes and textures. 225 degrees Fahrenheit is the low range temperature that yields a lighter, softer candy. For a denser product with a deeper flavor, continue heating the syrup to up to 245 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Pour the mixture into the mold and rest it on a flat surface to cool and set. The required time will vary based on the size and shape of the mold and the ambient temperature. A half sheet tray should take approximately one hour to set.

5. When the Pate de Fruits has cooled and fully set, cover the surface with a generous layer of granulated sugar. Invert the Pate de Fruits on to a clean cutting board and portion as desired. 1" cubes are traditional. Roll the finished candy in more granulated sugar and store it at room temperature in an air-tight container.

Chef's Note: Granulated sugar serves two purposes: it provides a nice finish to the product and it makes the somewhat sticky candy easier to handle. Over time, the sugar will dissolve as it draws moisture from the air and the candy. Just roll or dust the candy with more sugar.

Sliced Blood Oranges

Strained Blood Red Orange Juice

Heating Sugar and Blood Red Orange Juice

Slices of Blood Red Orange Pate de Fruit

Blood Red Orange Pate de Fruit

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  1. how many cups of juice, lemon juice, and how many cups of sugar, I googled it to no avail, all of the calculators gave me different answers, I can also work fine with ml for the liquids, as that translates well.

    1. There are 200g of sugar in a cup. So this recipes uses 3 Cups sugar. For most water-like liquids, it's 240g or 240ml to a cup, so you'll need 1 and 2/3 cup orange juice and just slightly less than 1/4 cup lemon juice.

  2. It looks really delicious but at the same time I would say there is a lots of sugar. I know it is traditional but anyway... :)