Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I sent my dad homemade cookies for Father’s Day. I made three types—pecan sandies, chocolate-hazelnut cookies, and French macarons. I carefully wrapped each cookie and boxed them with an ice pack so that the ganache filling in the chocolate macarons wouldn’t melt. I mailed the cookies overnight. Mom was in on the surprise, she had to be home to receive the package. But she said, “You never send me cookies.”
That, I didn’t expect, “You don’t even like cookies. What kind of cookies do you like?” My mother is the only human on the planet Earth who dislikes cookies, and she especially dislikes chocolate chip cookies. “None,” she said. Now why would I send her cookies?
So I sent her three types of Pâte de Fruit for her birthday. I made raspberry, peach, and sour cherry. I had done some intelligence gathering about her favorite fruit flavors. As soon as she received the package, Mom called to say thank you and how much she liked the candy. She thought it was store-bought at first, she can be silly that way. Then she lectured me about how I shouldn’t spend money on her for overnight shipping.
Pâte de Fruit
¾ ounce pure apple pectin
1 pound 5 ¼ ounces sugar, plus more for coating
¼ teaspoon citric acid
1 pound 2 ounces fruit puree
4 ounces glucose
1/3 ounce Kirsch
Whisk together the pectin and 2 ¼ ounces of the sugar in a small bowl. Combine the citric acid and ¼ teaspoon of water in another small bowl and stir until dissolved.
Heat the fruit puree in a large saucepan to 105˚F. Whisk in the pectin mixture and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Whisk in the glucose and the remaining 1 pound 3 ounces of sugar. Boil, stirring constantly with a heatproof spoon, until it reaches 224˚F. Stir in the citric acid mixture and Kirsch.
Immediately pour into a candy frame on a silpat or a silpat-lined quarter sheet pan.
Let cool for a couple of hours, or until firm. Invert onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares.
A few at a time, transfer to a plate of sugar and turn to coat.
Shake off any excess sugar and enjoy!
Makes a whole lot of candy, about a couple of pounds. I prefer my candies tart, so I add citric acid to the coating sugar to taste. Keeps for a couple of weeks in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place. Apple pectin, glucose, and citric acid are available at L’Epicerie. (Both pure apple pectin and citric acid come in powdered form.)