Monday, September 13, 2010

Fruit Gelées

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.

Fruit Gelées
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.



  1. I am in LOVE with these, they look gorgeous and delicate - I would love these for Halloween! Cute little ornage flavored pumpkins

  2. i just LOVE reading your posts & your photography is the BEST!!
    perfect! perfect! perfect!

    i have little heart shape cutters that i may try…

  3. These are adorable! I love the idea of tart lemonade gummies. Very fun post!

  4. I make a big assortment of goodies for my family every christmas, and I've wanted to add some fruity candies for a while, but I've never seen a recipe that doesn't call for some super specific ingredient. I can't wait to try these out!

  5. DO you think after they've dried they would dip well in chocolate?

  6. So beautiful! Don't I say this on every post? But I am sure you don't mind hearing it over and over again!

  7. Chocolate might be tricky. I probably wouldn't attempt it, but I'm biased since I love the jewel tones of these little candies.

  8. These look so good and I can't wait to try them! Not to nit-pick, but near the end of your post, you refer to them as "cookies"...

  9. Fixed. Thanks!

    Cookies. Candies. It all blurs together when your mind is as baking addled as mine.

  10. Love them! Everything you make looks so pretty!

  11. It looks so good - I wish I could try them, but I have never seen ingredients like light corn syrup or powdered fruit pectin in germany... :(

  12. Zuckerbackerin,

    Cornsyrup is the same as "glukose sirup" and should be available at your local pharmacy (it's the base for many medicine syrups). also carries such items.

    Germany is a huge pectin producer, is it all liquid pectin?

  13. These are adorable!! You make any food look incredible!!

  14. I have never seen frozen juice concentrate in Belgium...any ideas?

  15. Hmmm. Do you have apple sauce in Belgium?

  16. Yum! I didnt know it was so easy to make them at home! I'm always intimidated when it comes to candy though...But these look so pretty and tasty! I love your blog! Your pictures are wonderful!


  17. Hmm I was wondering what gelling agent would be best for making these sorts of jellies. I've tried agar before and got the most hideous results - who knew a jelly could be dry? Xanthan and gellan also didn't give the best results, but I didn't experiment with them much to try to improve the outcome. Pectin seems like the likely gelling agent I'm after!

  18. Yes, Ms. Humble, we do have applesauce in Belgium. We also have a huge variety of fruit compotes. (I put them in muffins all the time in place of oil.) Back to the applesauce... Should I use it just like I would the concentrate?

  19. I would try substituting a mixture of apple sauce and strained fruit purée (1/4 & 1/2c) for the concentrate. I've not tested this, so it is just an 'educated' guess but it should work.

    I will try it myself as a test this month if you can wait.

  20. I am so happy you posted this recipe! I've been wanting to try them too, but the pectin issue scared me.

    I love the asterisk notes at the end of the recipe (yay science!) and also the cutters you used. They're adorable!

  21. I can always wait for advice from you!

  22. These candies look amazing! I've tried making my own a couple times, but it hasn't worked out so far. Next time, I'm definitely giving your version a try.

  23. These look amazing and I want to try making them for Christmas gifts this year. Luckily it sounds pretty easy. Your photos are lovely too!

  24. Just wanted to let you know that I did make these for Christmas and they came out great! Thanks for posting this!

  25. These are beautiful, especially the butterflies!

    I had some trouble with the measurements for pectin. Your recipe calls for 3.5 oz, but the "4 oz" package I bought from a baking supply store only was 2.8 oz when I weighed it. i decided to use all of it, because the recipe you adapted from calls for 3.5 oz OR 8 tsp, and 8 tsp was a whole lot less than 2.8 ounces.

    I also had some trouble with lumps in my fruit mixture (maybe from the pectin?). The fruit mixture also burned on the bottom even though my heat was pretty low (the mixture was at a very low boil). My fruit gelees are setting now, and they have little black burnt pieces in them. I'm not sure how to prevent that for next time.



  26. Lumps are from undissolved pectin. Sprinkle it lightly over the mixture, as though you were blooming gelatin and that helps prevent the lumping.

    Burning the mixture means it got too hot (obvious, I know), this means you should adjust the temp much lower next time and perhaps eye up the bottoms of your pans. Are they thick, heavy duty pans? Thin pans plague candy makers, they don't distribute heat evenly and burn sweet syrups far too easily.

    2.8oz of pectin in a 4oz box? Really? What kind of racket is that baking store running? I hope the mixture set up well regardless of the missing pectin, though the scorched fruit probably didn't enhance the taste. When it comes to pectin, I prefer weight. Volume (teaspoons) can be inaccurate when it comes to powders.

  27. Hi! I was just about to try making these this weekend, but I could only find Certo liquid pectin. Do you think the recipe would still work? I was so excited to try it!

  28. You're gonna laugh at me, but I can't find any fruit juice concentrate besides Welch's grape (pleh). Is there some way I can treat or thicken a regular juice? Ideas?

  29. Hello Ms. Humble! I was just wondering if you could maybe post a how-to recipe for making Turkish Delight? I love TDs and I've always wondered how it's made. If you could post that, that would be super awesome! =)

    And thank you for your amazing recipes. Love them all!

  30. Stupid question, but I'm trying Pomona's Pectin when making these. I had the same problem one of your previous posters has about the lumps and burning so I'll keep what you responded in mind when I try again. As far as the Pectin, have you ever worked with Pomona's? This is my first time, and it has calcium water you need to add to the mixture. The directions were very confusing for me so I ended up adding 2t of the calcium water for the ~1oz of pectin. (I made a half batch to try). In the future, should I add this water separately, with the water the recipe asks for orrrrrrrrr.... I'm so confused by Pomona's!


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