I have been wanting to make Pâte de Fruits for a long time, but it wasn’t until the apples overflowed the fruit basket and started rolling across the counter and threatened to leap to the floor that I really felt motivated. Pâte de Fruits always look so lovely on other blogs, I have admired others Strawberry Rhubarb and Raspberry flavors. It wasn’t until I found Alice Waters recipe that contained no added pectin that I decided I was ready to give them a go. They really are worth it. I’m looking forward to our summer biking season, I see these replacing Shot Blocks (sorry Cliff Bar corporation) in my bike jersey.
You can make these Pâte de Fruits with any variety of apples and fruit you have on hand. You can also make them with just apple. Our winter CSA has thrown a whole mix of apples at us over the last few weeks, so to be honest I’m not sure what kind of apples I used. I recommend using the kind you like to eat. I like super sour candies, so I would love to try them with Granny Smith in the future. Don’t attempt to make them with just berries however. It is the pectin in the apples that makes them become jellied. There are other similar recipes that use the addition of pectin or gelatin out there if you want to make other fruit jellies such as Turkish Delight, a rose water jelly. Also, most recipes call for a lot of added sugar to offset the lemon. I recommend trying them without first as I found them plenty sweet with just the rolling in sugar.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to make these treats. They can be quite time consuming. Not the kind of project to start on a weeknight like I did. They are not difficult, but they do need quite a bit of time and attention during the simmering stage as you don’t want them to burn.
Appleberry Pâtes de Fruits
7 apples, peeled, quartered and cored
¼ cup low bush cranberries or lingonberries
½ cup wild blueberries
1 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
Sugar for coating
Start by lightly rubbing an 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with a flavorless vegetable oil (canola or safflower). Line pan with parchment and lightly oil parchment.
In a large pot combine the apples, berries, and the water and cook over medium heat until soft, about 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), process the mixture until smooth.
Pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Return the puree to the pot and stir in the lemon juice.
Simmer over low heat, stirring often, for about 2 hours. As the mixture cooks and reduces, it starts to thicken and bubble. Scrape the bottom of the pan while stirring to make sure nothing is sticking and burning. The puree is done when it holds a mounded shape. To be sure, you can chill a small amount on a plate in the freezer. It should appear and feel jellied.
Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Cool for several hours or overnight. When cooled completely, invert onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Remove the top layer of parchment paper. Leave to dry, uncovered, overnight. Put the paste in a 150° F oven for an hour or more until firm. Let cool completely before cutting. If the center is still not set, you can put them back in the oven, even after cutting. The paste can be stored whole, wrapped tightly in plastic. Or trim the edges and cut into 1-inch pieces before wrapping. Store at room temperature or refrigerated for up to a year. Before serving toss the pieces in granulated sugar to serve.