WHAT'S A PATE DE FRUIT ANYWAY?
Pate de fruit is essentially a jelly candy made from fruit, sugars, and pectin. Like many things in the pastry and confectionary world, it is magic that is attainable in your own kitchen*.
This recipe is an adaptation from pastry chef Luis Ayala. I had the good fortune to meet him at a brunch at Naked Kitchen years ago and we've been trading treats and ideas ever since. I got to test drive his recipe while prepping him out for a trip to France (a restaurant needs mignardises while the pastry chef is on vacation). We used blackberry puree and madeira, and it was absolutely delicious.
Watermelon Lime Pate De Fruit
1000g watermelon puree (highly substitutable)**
100g sucrose (white granulated sugar)
36g pectin jaune (yellow pectin)
150g glucose syrup
26g citric acid
This makes a lot of pate de fruit. If you don't have a big party to bring this to, consider cutting it in half or a third and even then, you should be sharing.
- Prepare your final vessel. I use a half sheet pan lightly coated in a neutral oil (grape seed, canola, etc.) and topped with parchment paper. You can use any oven-safe vessel with a flat bottom and lip on it to contain the very hot cooked product. That 13x9" pyrex dish will do just fine.
- Start warming your puree in a 5-6 liter (6 quart) heavy-bottom pot on medium-high.
- Mix 100g sucrose and pectin together, then use an immersion blender to incorporate it into the puree. Bring to a full boil and use a whisk to stir often enough so nothing burns.
- Add the second set of sugars (sucrose, trimoline, glucose syrup). Continue stirring as above and boil.
- Add citric acid and salt. Stir vigorously for 20 seconds. Remove from heat and quickly cast into your prepared vessel.
- Allow to cool to room temperature. Cut (optionally toss in sugar with a little cornstarch) and enjoy.
- Store covered in plastic wrap at room temperature, cutting (and sugaring) when it's serving time. It should keep well for months, depending on the environment. Weeping may happen, which is just some sugar syrup coming out, not a big deal. As always, it's at it's best if you savor promptly.
*Aspiring home chefs: Ingredient access may hold you up. The recipe is written for working chefs, people with access to a professional kitchen and the sorts of ingredients they stock in the quantities they use. You can surely find most of the ingredients on the internet, however, they might only come in large quantities. Solution: Batch up ingredients for your friends so they, too, can make kitchen magic like the pros.
Watermelon Lime Puree**
1000g watermelon chunks (about half a medium watermelon)
1g citric acid
zest of 1 lime
Blend equal parts of the puree ingredients in 3-4 batches. Strain. Consider spooning off the pulpy foam that forms at the top of the strained puree.
You'll have extra puree that isn't necessary for the pate de fruit. I highly recommend adding some vodka for a well deserved cocktail after all that blending.