As much as I love chocolate (I really, really do), I also have a penchant for fruit candies. But I like the real deal — none of those artificial colors and flavors. I go for homemade fruit jellies, like these strawberry pomegranate pate de fruits. They are surprisingly simple to make — a little time consuming, but totally worth it.
The ingredients are 100 percent natural — just pomegranate juice, strawberries, organic evaporated cane juice, vanilla bean, lemon juice, and pectin. They are sweet and delicious and the perfect bite-sized treat to make for someone special. (That means yourself too!) The color is beautiful too — the deepest, darkest red. The long cooking time adds a depth of flavor akin to homemade jam.
This recipe is fairly simple. You only need a sturdy pan, candy thermometer, and an oiled (or parchment-lined) 8-inch square baking dish. They do take a little bit of time to cook — between 30-45 minutes. But after that, it’s pretty hands-off while they set up. Some recipes I’ve seen use gelatin instead of pectin, but I like the texture of the pate de fruits made with pectin a little better. See below for my notes.
Strawberry Pomegranate Pate de Fruit
Adapted from this recipe
Prep time: 1 hour
Total time: 8-12 hours, including setting time
1 1/4 cups organic 100% pomegranate juice
12 ounces fresh or frozen strawberries
1 1/2 cups organic evaporated cane juice, plus more for coating
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 3-ounce pouch liquid pectin
1. Oil an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Place pomegranate juice and strawberries into a blender. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a 3- to 4-quart pot and add the sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla bean paste. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook, stirring often, for 30-45 minutes, or until the temperature reaches 230 degrees F. Watch it after it reaches about 210 degrees because you don’t want it to burn on the bottom of the pan. Stir constantly near the end.
3. Once the temperature reaches 230, remove pan from heat and whisk in the liquid pectin. Immediately transfer to the prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Let cool completely and let stand for at least 3-4 hours, or overnight to set up.
4. Cut into squares or desired shapes using a sharp knife or small cookie cutter. Roll in extra sugar and transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.
Yield: 64 1-inch squares, or about 25-50 cutouts, depending on size and shape.
-Be careful not to let it burn on the bottom of the pan. Stir constantly towards the end. The puree will become very thick towards the end also, but be sure to cook it long enough (to the correct temperature) or they won’t set up properly.
-The pate is very sticky. Don’t skimp on the step to oil the pan and line it with parchment. You’ll have a really difficult time getting them out of the pan otherwise. It also helps to oil your knife when cutting into squares, or to rinse the cookie cutter frequently.
-The pate sets up quickly, so use a quick hand when spreading it evenly in the pan. (Mine wasn’t as even as I could have liked, but the sugar can hide some of the irregularities.)
-You can re-roll the pate de fruits in sugar if they start sticking together.