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Pâte de Fruits (Fruit Paste/Fruit Jellies) (Part 2)


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After following @gfron1's kind advice I now have a first batch of Blackcurrant pâte de fruit.  They set very well and it was easy to cut the pieces with a large knife.  I hit a problem with the final stage, I was certain that I had a jar of tartaric acid but when I went to get it I found that in fact it is cream of tartar.  A little research told me that the cream of tartar isn't a substitute and since I don't have time to go out in search of the proper thing today I resorted to sugar with grated lemon zest.  I will certainly order tartaric acid for the next batch.

 

The pâte tastes fine, I think another time I would want to reduce the sugar just a little, also the pectin if the latter can be reduced without losing setting capacity.  Perhaps I scaled wrongly when adapting quantities given to account for the additional 40g purée. 

 

As I said yesterday I should have followed the recipe to the letter and used a bread pan as a mould.  I would then have produced cubes instead of slabs but I am quite happy with my first slabs!

 

Many thanks again to @gfron1 for the time taken to set out such an excellent guide for someone with limited home cooking skills, also to others who kindly gave advice about sourcing the right pectin.  

 

image.jpeg

 

I am well aware that I failed to produce equally sized pieces, more care needed next time!  

 

Edited by DianaB (log)
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Yay! They look right. Instead of adjusting the sugar, you should plan ahead to get different purees. Currant is a low-tone flavor that needs some spikes to get past the sugar. But if you did a lemon currant or something with high notes you may not notice the sweetness as much. The other thing is the acid. That's why people add it to their coating - cut into the sweetness.

 

I'm also curious why you want to reduce the pectin. My guess is that these are too firm for you. If that's the case, don't cut the pectin but stop cooking a degree or two earlier. I gave you the standard instructions but I prefer my PDF softer and cook 2 degrees less.

 

But, great job!

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42 minutes ago, gfron1 said:

Yay! They look right. Instead of adjusting the sugar, you should plan ahead to get different purees. Currant is a low-tone flavor that needs some spikes to get past the sugar. But if you did a lemon currant or something with high notes you may not notice the sweetness as much. The other thing is the acid. That's why people add it to their coating - cut into the sweetness.

 

I'm also curious why you want to reduce the pectin. My guess is that these are too firm for you. If that's the case, don't cut the pectin but stop cooking a degree or two earlier. I gave you the standard instructions but I prefer my PDF softer and cook 2 degrees less.

 

But, great job!

 

Thanks again gfron1, you seem to be able to read my mind in respect of your latest advice.  The idea of reducing the pectin was indeed to achieve a slightly less firm product but I'll stop cooking at 105c next time.  Also I'll ensure I have tartaric acid to hand, it's easy enough to find.  We usually have apples in the house but I'm guessing something tart like a bramley might be better than our normal Pink Lady.  We have a couple of apple trees and I have stacks of purée cooked unsweetened  and frozen last autumn.  I have 1kg passion fruit purée (90% passion fruit, 10% sugar), that might be the base of my next attempt.

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8 minutes ago, DianaB said:

 

Thanks again gfron1, you seem to be able to read my mind in respect of your latest advice.  The idea of reducing the pectin was indeed to achieve a slightly less firm product but I'll stop cooking at 105c next time.  Also I'll ensure I have tartaric acid to hand, it's easy enough to find.  We usually have apples in the house but I'm guessing something tart like a bramley might be better than our normal Pink Lady.  We have a couple of apple trees and I have stacks of purée cooked unsweetened  and frozen last autumn.  I have 1kg passion fruit purée (90% passion fruit, 10% sugar), that might be the base of my next attempt.

 We have a like button and an unlike button  and even a report this post button but this conversation about PDF makes me wish we had a button that  proclaims "this is what eG is all about -- members helping members". DianaB your PDF looks delicious.  I might even put this confection on my bucket list of things I'd like to make.   Thanks for sharing your technique and recipe gfron1. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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I made a peach PDF this weekend.  My two biggest issues when making PDFs are (1) sweetness.  No matter what the fruit, everything just tastes like sugar to me.  There is so much sugar in the recipe, that the sweetness just overpowers the flavor of the fruit.  I will try mixing the acid into the sugar coating.  Does it have to be citric acid or does tartaric work as well?  How much of the acid do you mix in with the sugar?  The second issue is the speed with which it sets.  I cook to 107* and it is setting as I am pouring it out of the pan into a frame.  No big deal for candies or for enrobed bonbons, but if I want to use it in a molded bonbon, there is no way I could pipe it.  By the time it cooled enough to put in chocolate shells, it would be way too firm to pipe.  How do people do molded bonbons with a PDF layer?  I see it on different chocolatier websites all the time, so there must be a way.  

Edited by Bentley (log)
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PDF are sweet by nature, so I think peach might be too subtle a flavour to try. Passionfruit, raspberry, cassis, lemon have all worked well for me. In terms of piping, you can blitz the PDF after it has set and then pipe it. Some people also add a little alcohol when blitzing to loosen it even further.

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When I made my PDF recently I also thought it would make a good centre for mould end chocolates, just cut the finished product to the appropriate size and place in mould cavities before capping.  I've not tried yet but can't see why it shouldn't work.

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9 hours ago, gap said:

PDF are sweet by nature, so I think peach might be too subtle a flavour to try. Passionfruit, raspberry, cassis, lemon have all worked well for me. In terms of piping, you can blitz the PDF after it has set and then pipe it. Some people also add a little alcohol when blitzing to loosen it even further.

Blitzing?  Not a term I'm familiar with.  Can you tell me what that means?

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24 minutes ago, Bentley said:

Blitzing?  Not a term I'm familiar with.  Can you tell me what that means?

In cooking, blitzing refers to mixing something up usually with an immersion blender or in a food processor or blender. To puree a soup, you might blitz it with an immersion blender.

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The setting up too quickly is what you should expect. But realize, I prefer my PDF a touch softer, AND not all thermometers read correctly. Using your thermometer (since its what you know and have experience with), back off one or two degrees. Who knows what the real temp is, and it doesn't really matter. You know that 107º is too firm for your liking, so go to 105º and see what you think.

 

But as was said, for moldeds, often times you just blitz first (or I use a warmed depositor).

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1 hour ago, gfron1 said:

The setting up too quickly is what you should expect. But realize, I prefer my PDF a touch softer, AND not all thermometers read correctly. Using your thermometer (since its what you know and have experience with), back off one or two degrees. Who knows what the real temp is, and it doesn't really matter. You know that 107º is too firm for your liking, so go to 105º and see what you think.

 

But as was said, for moldeds, often times you just blitz first (or I use a warmed depositor).

Once you taken a PDF and blitz it, will it firm up again once piped or will it have a consistency like jam?

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In regard to using PDF as a filling for chocolates:  Instead of trying to get the PDF into a mold, you could (after the PDF has set and cooled) cut it into pieces and dip them in chocolate.  To deal with the sweetness, you could use a quite dark chocolate.  And to make it more interesting you could add a complementary layer, e.g., passion fruit PDF paired with lemon or vanilla ganache; mango PDF paired with lime ganache; cherry PDF paired with almond gianduja.

 

A propos the sweetness issue:  I don't use PDFs often because of the excessive sweetness mentioned previously.  A couple of times I tried Pomona's pectin, which calls for considerably less sugar (and less cooking, which helps with retaining the fruit flavor).  I'm not sure why chocolatiers/confectioners don't use it more often and would be interested in others' views on that subject.

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18 hours ago, Jim D. said:

 A couple of times I tried Pomona's pectin, which calls for considerably less sugar (and less cooking, which helps with retaining the fruit flavor).  I'm not sure why chocolatiers/confectioners don't use it more often and would be interested in others' views on that subject.

 

The high levels of sugar act as a preservative. With the Pomona pectin, you can set it with calcium and drastically reduce the sugar content, however you may end up with a jelly that has a much shorter shelf life.

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1 hour ago, keychris said:

 

The high levels of sugar act as a preservative. With the Pomona pectin, you can set it with calcium and drastically reduce the sugar content, however you may end up with a jelly that has a much shorter shelf life.

 

Good point.  I had not thought of that.  I might experiment this summer by using Pomona's in a PDF and keeping it for a while to see what happens.

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3 hours ago, keychris said:

 

The high levels of sugar act as a preservative. With the Pomona pectin, you can set it with calcium and drastically reduce the sugar content, however you may end up with a jelly that has a much shorter shelf life.

1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

 

Good point.  I had not thought of that.  I might experiment this summer by using Pomona's in a PDF and keeping it for a while to see what happens.

 

Could someone make one with Pomona's and then run a water activity test?

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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1 hour ago, MelissaH said:

 

Could someone make one with Pomona's and then run a water activity test?

 

I'm glad you brought that up.  Recently I was making a Notter recipe that calls for a layer of raspberry piped into a mold, then another layer of orange-flavored dark chocolate.  The raspberry isn't quite the firm texture of a PDF (Notter calls it a coulis--which is not exactly accurate), but the method is the same and quite a bit of sugar is involved.  I have an Aw meter and tested the two fillings.  I was startled to see a 0.93 reading for the coulis--.07 higher and it would have been all water!  I am not sure what to conclude from this.  Perhaps the high amount of sugar in a PDF preserves it in spite of the high water content?  I checked books from Wybauw, who is fanatical about shelf life.  Surely, I thought, he won't include any PDFs in his chocolates.  But in fact he does, though interestingly he does not ordinarily include the Aw reading for these.  Maybe water activity is irrelevant for PDFs?

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

 

I'm glad you brought that up.  Recently I was making a Notter recipe that calls for a layer of raspberry piped into a mold, then another layer of orange-flavored dark chocolate.  The raspberry isn't quite the firm texture of a PDF (Notter calls it a coulis--which is not exactly accurate), but the method is the same and quite a bit of sugar is involved.  I have an Aw meter and tested the two fillings.  I was startled to see a 0.93 reading for the coulis--.07 higher and it would have been all water!  I am not sure what to conclude from this.  Perhaps the high amount of sugar in a PDF preserves it in spite of the high water content?  I checked books from Wybauw, who is fanatical about shelf life.  Surely, I thought, he won't include any PDFs in his chocolates.  But in fact he does, though interestingly he does not ordinarily include the Aw reading for these.  Maybe water activity is irrelevant for PDFs?

 

With a reading that high, you can't legally sell it. (At least in Utah). It would mold very quickly. I guess if you were going to consume within a few days, it wouldn't be a problem.

 

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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15 hours ago, MelissaH said:

How is this raspberry layer made?

 

190g of raspberry purée is combined with 50g sugar and 30g glucose and brought to a boil.   Combine 9g pectin and 15g sugar, then add to the purée, then 1g lemon juice.  Then the directions differ a little from the usual PDF (no temp is mentioned):  Boil for 3 minutes or "until the mixture coats the back of a spatula."  Cool and then pipe into molds.  I have found that 3 minutes is far too long and produces a firm substance that cannot be piped.

 

Do you see any clues in the recipe that would account for the very high Aw reading?  It is, of course, possible that I made an error in taking the reading, but I was so startled by the 0.93 reading that I have shied away from the recipe (though the combination of the raspberry layer with an orange-infused dark chocolate layer is delicious).

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

 

190g of raspberry purée is combined with 50g sugar and 30g glucose and brought to a boil.   Combine 9g pectin and 15g sugar, then add to the purée, then 1g lemon juice.  Then the directions differ a little from the usual PDF (no temp is mentioned):  Boil for 3 minutes or "until the mixture coats the back of a spatula."  Cool and then pipe into molds.  I have found that 3 minutes is far too long and produces a firm substance that cannot be piped.

 

Do you see any clues in the recipe that would account for the very high Aw reading?  It is, of course, possible that I made an error in taking the reading, but I was so startled by the 0.93 reading that I have shied away from the recipe (though the combination of the raspberry layer with an orange-infused dark chocolate layer is delicious).

@Kerry Beal is my go-to for questions about water activity, and I don't know enough to make an educated guess. But that 0.93 reading does sound high to me. I'd be interested to know what you get if you test just the raspberry puree for Aw, because that *should* be higher than puree that's been sugared and boiled!

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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1 hour ago, MelissaH said:

I'd be interested to know what you get if you test just the raspberry puree for Aw, because that *should* be higher than puree that's been sugared and boiled!

 

Good point.  I made the purée myself:  frozen raspberries, thawed and drained, then into the food processor, then strained to take out the seeds.  Not reduced since I prefer the raspberries uncooked.  It's definitely thicker than the usual purchased purées (many of which--even Boiron--seem watery to me).  I'll test it next time I make some.

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Looking at those numbers 190 g of puree, 50 grams of sugar - there isn't a whole lot of particles to sequester water. Most regular PDF recipes use almost equal amounts of puree and sugar and then boil it to remove a whole lot of water.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Made a key lime PDF this weekend and was less than successful.  I think I had the heat too high because by the time I got to 225 degrees, the mixture was dark and once it cooled it had a burnt taste and I could see little flecks of burnt sugar in the jellies.  What heat do you guys use for your PDFs?  I have a Wolf gas range and I am using a medium high heat.  Maybe I should lower it and let the mixture cook longer?  It will still reach 225* eventually right?

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