Blog: Defining Dessert | The French Pastry School

Blog: Defining Dessert

Defining Dessert
The French Pastry School |
July 17, 2012

L'Art du Blog

Pâtes de Fruit

While there is something to be said for the nostalgia of eating fruit-flavored candies with their neon colors and their tooth-wrenching chew, pâtes de fruits easily usurp childhood memories with the simple pleasures of real flavors. One can make pâtes de fruits (“fruit paste”) essentially by boiling fruit puree with sugar and pectin to help it set. The result is a tenderly chewy, purely-flavored representation of the fruit you started with: the perfect jelly candy.

As with all pastries, pâtes de fruits’ origin story is perhaps more enchanting than factual. One tale postulates that a mother was making raspberry jelly one day when she was called away by her children or chores. The put upon mother forgot to turn off her stove and by the time she returned, the jelly had boiled off so much liquid, it had congealed. However, necessity – and just as often, a mistake – is the mother of invention: this mother rolled pieces of the failed jam in sugar and fed it to her children as candy.

Of course, over the years, the process has become less romantic and more methodical. The “Ready, Set, Boil!” mentality won’t result in the glistening candy gems that make this a high-class item in French pâtisseries and confiseries. Instead, each flavor has its own precisely-calibrated recipe based on the amount of naturally occurring pectin in the fruit used; special wide-mouthed copper pots for optimal evaporation; and refractometers to measure the exact concentration of sugar to water. After setting and being rolled in crystalline sugar, many shops package the slices with the care a jeweler might use to display a diamond necklace.

The French Pastry School makes several versions of pâtes de fruits depending on the season: from the familiar to the exotic. Nothing, however, gets that feel-good reaction like our classic raspberry pâtes de fruits enhanced with raspberry liquor.