You say it “pat de fwee” (more or less). Try and say it with a French accent, otherwise, you’ll sound like Daffy Duck. Pate de fruits is French for fruit paste. See, that’s why we so often stick with the French names. Pate de fruits sounds refined and mysterious. Fruit paste sounds pedestrian and sort of like a mistake.
If you’ve not had pate de fruits before, let me tell you what they are not. They are not orange slices, gummy bears, gummy worms, gummy Life Savers or any of those other gummy-type, overly sweetened, artificially flavored odd chewy candies. No, my friends, pate de fruits are little jewels of concentrated fruit flavor. When made correctly, the texture when you bite into one is initial resistance followed by a smooth bite–almost like biting into a smooth chocolate truffle. They are the perfect balance of fruity tartness and sweetness. The magic of making pate de fruits is making sure you have just the right amount of thickening power, in the form of pectin, to let them set up into slick, slice-able jewel-toned tiles of fruit flavor without overdoing it and ending up with something a little chewy.
The basic recipe is pretty straightforward. The trick is in knowing the perfect amount of pectin to use for each kind of fruit. Since most fruit contains pectin at different concentrations, the amount you must add differs for most types of fruit. Professional pastry chefs have access to recipes that are specifically formulated for each type of fruit puree a particular manufacturer sells. I have one of these magical sheets at my disposal, and I am going to share some of that magic with you now. No need to thank me.
Before I let you in on the secrets, let me just say that, while it’s not hard to make pate de fruits, it’s not really easy, either. There is a lot of stirring and cooking of thick, viscous, bubbling molten fruit and sugar. I’ve gotten some lovely burns from exuberantly burbling pre-pate-de-fruits, so if you’re going to make some, be careful and be prepared for it to take quite awhile–maybe up to 45 minutes to an hour of stirring.
This magical list of recipes is based on purees produced by Boiron. They are available on the web from Marky’s, and I would recommend you purchase some since you might not get the desired results if you use a different puree. There are recipes out there formulated to work with home ingredients, so if you’d rather try one of those recipes, it won’t hurt my feelings.
Let’s make raspberry:
- 1000 g. Boiron raspberry puree (1 container)
- 1140 g. sugar
- 200 g. corn syrup
- 15 g. citric acid diluted in 15 g. water (or 15 g. lemon juice)
- 20 g. powdered pectin
- Mix about 100 g. of sugar with the pectin. Whisk them together really well. This helps keep your pate de fruits from having pectin globs in it. So do it.
- Heat the puree to 120 degrees. F.
- Whisk and whisk, and add the pectin/sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and let boil one minute.
- Add the corn syrup and the rest of the sugar. Cook to 223 degrees, F. This could take a very long time. Your thermometer will read 218, and you’ll think, “Oh, I’m almost there!” Wipe that grin off your face; this is going to take some time, so settle in and make sure you’re wearing long sleeves.
- Stir in the citric acid/water mixture or the lemon juice. Cook one more minute.
- Pour into a half-sheet pan which you have lined with heavy duty plastic wrap. Let set up at room temperature until cool and sliceable. This could take a few hours. Once firm, slice them into small squares, or cut out fun shapes with tiny cookie cutters. Roll them in granulated sugar. For “Sourpatch” pate de fruits, mix a little citric acid in with the sugar (to taste) and roll them in that mixture.
Pate de fruits…..sigh. I hate those orange slices. These are nothing like those. Two or three along with some short bread or langues du chat make a perfect little treat after a big meal. We used to present them with the check, in place of that Andes mint you usually get out at restaurants.
Oh, the other flavors: I have recipes for everything from apricot to white peach to quince to kiwi. If you’d like to make some of your very own pate de fruits, email me with the flavor you’d like to make. If I have that formula on my magical list, I’ll send it your way.
PS A lovely person from Colville Street Patisserie just let me know that the Boiron folks are now making these formulas available on their website! Yay! They aren’t exactly like the ones I have, but then again, mine are a little older. I’m still happy to send a few formulas your way, but the full range is available here. To get the PdF formulas, click on confectioners. Don’t stop there, though. Click on any–or all–of the four .pdf files to learn all sorts of wonderful formulas for everything to fruit mousse to fruit ice creams to fruit ganache. Now, go play! You’re welcome.
If you purchase from this widget, know that these are affiliate links. It won’t cost you any more, but I’ll get a few cents on the dollar to help feed our cats. Thanks! PS Those dessicant packs will allow you to store your lovely pates de fruit without their getting all soggy. We used to use them at the restaurant, and they work like a charm.