Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pâté de Fruition or Pâté de Failure?

AKA:  More About Pâté de Fruit Than You Ever Wanted to Know.

Last month I decided I was going to join the party of attempting pâté de fruit (see April 11 - 13 for that saga).  It didn't work out so well.  Shae of Hitchhiking to Heaven summed this up the best in her post on her attempt entitled Clementine Pâté  de Oops.  But I knew I would try again because sometimes I'm just stubborn that way, and determined a little research would be in order before any further attempts.

I recalled that I had originally found a link for Capfruit's commercial pâté de fruit recipes from the French Pastry School's website so decided to see if I could find it again.  Indeed I could.  This time when I found their recipes for pate de fruit, I didn't have to worry about translating.

One of the problems with other pâté de fruit attempts I'd read about was suggested to be the use of homemade fruit puree versus commercially prepared.  I checked the Capfruit website to see if they listed ingredients for their purees.  What I found is that their purees are 90% fruit and 10% sugar.  Is that extra bit of sugar the reason home purees seemed to have a higher failure rate?  Maybe; but I'm not sure it's the only reason.  Since I was using their recipe for my pâté de fruit, I thought I should try to duplicate their fruit puree.  I decided that I would use the same 90/10 proportions:  for 500 grams of fruit puree (I cut the recipe in half), I used 450 grams of fruit and 50 grams of sugar.

Their recipe also calls for glucose instead of corn syrup and citric acid instead of lemon juice.  Believe it or not, I actually had both of these things.  The glucose came from Hobby Lobby of all places (it's used in cake decorating) and the citric acid from the International Grocery (on hand for my occasional forays into cheese making).  One thing I noticed right away is that the glucose is much, MUCH thicker and stickier than corn syrup.  Again, I'm not sure that would be a cause for failure in and of itself, but perhaps combinations of things . . .

Research in hand, now it was time to get started.

Mise en place:  everything in its place. 

Experience has taught me to be totally prepared before beginning to work with anything involving boiling sugar.  (And note the extremely large cup of coffee to the left.)  I took the time to make sure all of my ingredients were weighed out before beginning.  The recipes were in metric and standard, but since my scale only does 1/8 ounce increments, I went with the metric.  Grams are more precise anyway.  I did try to get volume measurements on all the ingredients, but the weights (metric or standard) will still be more accurate.

Getting a boil on the thick puree without burning it
was a bit of a challenge.

After heating my mango puree, I added powdered pectin mixed in with some of the sugar.  The purpose of this is to try to keep the pectin from clumping up.  That part was definitely not so successful.  Maybe I should have been whisking instead of stirring.  I spent a lot of time chasing pectin globs around trying to crush them on the side of the pan.  This mixture is then brought to a boil and boiled for one minute - kind of like making jelly.  At that point, the glucose and remaining sugar is added and it's cooked to 223 degrees F.  A digital thermometer would be really awesome here.  Once it reaches temperature, the citric acid is stirred in and the mixture is cooked for 30 seconds before pouring into the prepared pan.  Then the really hard part:  it's supposed to set for 24 hours before cutting it.  Antici . . . . . PATION!

I wasn't sure if the 9 x 13 would be big enough,
but as it turns out, it's just a little bit too big. 
I'll just have to be happy with skinny candies.

So I won't know until tomorrow if it's successful, but so far I'm extremely optimistic.  If it really is successful, I'll post my recipe tomorrow.  There was one step I forgot again though:  buttering the parchment.  Hopefully after all of this, they won't be ruined by my inability to get them off of the paper.

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