Monday, September 13, 2010
Happy Monday, everyone!
We're making candy today, and unlike last week's marshmallows these are vegan/vegetarian friendly. Fruit gelées is something that I've long wanted to make for the blog but it involves one rather pesky ingredient: Pectin.
Since not all pectins are created equal, you often see recipes will call for a specific brand or type (like apple) when making gelées. Rarely does one find a recipe that calls for a generic powdered fruit pectin, the type one might find at a corner grocery store. And of course, using gelatin as the gelling agent was off the table, as it doesn't produce the ideal texture in these fruit candies.
What I needed was a reliable recipe that had a chance of working with ordinary powdered fruit pectin and finally, I've found one to share with everyone today.
I came across a very simple Culinary Institute of America recipe for the candies that only called for "powdered fruit pectin", so I decided to give them a go. Using my ordinary corner grocery store, canning pectin I made the candies and had fantastic results.
Now, not all fruit juices will produce the exact same textured candy, due to how individual fruits react with pectin. I tested several types of juice and all of them firmed up fine, however some gelées were firmer than others. The Gelées we're photographing today: Cherry Pomegranate and Tart Lemonade.
adapted from Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America
yields 120 pieces
3/4 cup frozen juice concentrate, thawed
1 1/4 cups water
2 1.75oz packages of powdered fruit pectin*
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups light corn syrup**
1/2 teaspoon fruit extract or oil (optional)***
1/4-3/4 teaspoon citric acid (optional)****
food coloring as needed (optional)
Superfine sugar for dusting
(aka: bar sugar, baking/bakers sugar, caster sugar. You may use ordinary granulated sugar too, but I recommend superfine. It will coat the candy better and feel less sticky)
* Do not use "no sugar needed" powdered pectin. If using sure-gell's powdered, modified citrus pectin (MCP), up the amount used to 4oz total.
** You can substitute invert syrup in this recipe, however corn syrup or liquid glucose is best. These candies are sensitive to humidity and invert syrup has more fructose (naturally more hygroscopic than glucose). If you use invert syrup, the candies may become sticky quicker than those made with glucose.
*** Candy oils are a great way to expand your candy making repertoire. Mix and match different fruit flavors, or even add a little spice or champagne oil. Candy oils will allow you do have fun and be creative with your fruit gelées flavors.
**** Citric acid will give the candy a little extra pucker. I buy my citric acid cheaply at my local Indian grocer (it's great for making paneer). You can also find it online, at specialty baking and at well stocked grocery and health food stores.
Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch heat-safe pan with a little non-stick spray (or a light coating of flavorless oil and thoroughly wipe out the excess). Line the bottom of your pan with a piece of parchment paper and lightly coat it with non-stick spray.
Pull out two large saucepans. In one, combine the fruit juice concentrate, the water, pectin and baking soda (it will foam up).
In the second pan, combine the corn syrup and sugar.
Place both pans over medium high heat. Bring both mixtures to a boil and then reduce the heats to medium. Cook both for roughly 8 minutes.
For the sugar solution, I'm not going to call for a candy thermometer since we're going rely on a simpler visual cue. Once the sugar solution begins to turn a little yellow (barely starting to caramelize) it's ready. Pull the pan off the heat and slowly pour the sugar mixture into the boiling fruit mixture. It's going to bubble violently, so pour slowly.
Cook this mixture for a minute longer stirring constantly to ensure the sugar is completely melted and then remove from heat.
Now you can adjust the flavor with a little citric acid and/or flavoring oils. To test the flavor of the syrup, spoon a little onto a plate and allow to cool before tasting. Adjust the flavor as desired, add a little food coloring if needed and then pour into your prepared pan.
Place the pan on a level surface and allow to cure at room temperature for 2 hours.
When the candy has cured and set, scatter some superfine sugar onto a flat baking sheet. Peel the candy from the pan and lay onto the sugared baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter coated in a little nonstick spray cut the candy into simple cubes. If you're feeling fancy, you can use small cookie cutters or aspic cutters to cut out shapes. I'm using a tiny butterfly cutter set to make these adorable gelée butterflies.
After cutting each piece, toss in a bowl of superfine sugar and set onto a wire racked lined with waxed paper. Allow the candies to sit and air dry for at least 8 hours.
To store: Pack the candies in an air tight container lined with waxed paper. The candies are sensitive to humidity and may become sticky. Please do not store them in your refrigerator.