Think of fruity tasting jellies without chemicals or food coloring. I have not officially started my Christmas baking, but yesterday I took some frozen fruits out of the freezer and decided to try a recipe from a borrowed book, Chocolates and Confections by Peter Greweling. Originally I had the grandiose idea of cooking up 4 different flavours of half batches of pectin jellies. Well the first one burned. The second one was fine but puny. The rest of the fruit I chucked together, actually I almost threw it away but then I relented and made one more batch, a strawberry and plum combination, if a little bit too large, pectin jellies.
The size of the baking pan will determine how high and or what shape the pectin jellies will be. I used a bread-pan for both batches. I wanted to see what else I can come up with aside from the suggested 8X8 inch baking pan. In retrospect I should have followed the instructions, but you know how it is… breaking the rules is what moves us forward. If I ever make these again, I am making a note to myself to use the suggested size and to cook a full batch. You stand there long enough stirring why make that small of an amount?
You can use any fruit puree in any a combination. If the fruit contains fibres or seeds that cannot be pureed, use the juice and combine it with apple puree. You can substitute the fruit puree in the recipe with 1-1/4 cups of any type of fruit juice and 3/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce. Pectin jellies are rather sweet and best if made to compliment an assortment of other dainties. They keep well at room temperature inside a metal cookie tin. [Don’t use plastic containers] They are easy to make but rather tedious to stir until the required temperature is reached. I didn’t measure the time how long I stood at the stove stirring, frankly I didn’t want to know how long. A candy thermometer is necessary. Once the temperature gets over 150F, the bottom of the pot will scorch easily, something you don’t want, because instead of the fruit flavour your candy will taste scorched. After that I moved my candy thermometer a few times, so as not to miss any part of the pot’s perimeter with my wooden spoon.
2 cups fruit puree or 1-1/4 cups fruit juice and 3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
3 cups sugar
2 envelopes of Certo liquid pectin
1 Tbsp lemon juice
sugar for coating
• Line an 8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil.
• Spray the foil lining with cooking spray.
• Cut across the top of the 2 pectin pouches and place them in a deep vessel upright and within your reach near the stove.
• Place the fruit puree and sugar in a heavy dutch pot.
• Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Make sure the tip is suspended in the puree, but does not touch the bottom of the pot.
• Bring the puree to the boil, stirring often.
• After150F is reached; turn the heat down to just below medium. This will slow things down, but is necessary to avoid scorching on the bottom. From here on end you will have to stir continuously until 238F is reached. As you stir, make sure to sweep the bottom of the pot everywhere under the cooking puree. Because of its shape, my pot has the tendency to scorch at the perimeter so I moved the thermometer over to get under the cooking puree with my wooden spoon.
• At 238F squeeze in the contents of the 2 pectin pouch and continue cooking for 1 whole minute.
• Remove pot from heat ad stir in the lemon juice.
• Immediately pour into the prepared baking pan as level as you can manage.
• Sprinkle the top with sugar.
• Before the jelly completely cools down, grasp the ends of the aluminum foil and transfer it onto a cutting board.
• Using a wet chef’s knife cut the jelly into squares. I had to wash my knife between cuts, so it is best to place the jelly near the sink.
• Roll some of the fruit squares into sugar. They are less likely to stick together if rolled into sugar, but I prefer them as they are. Try them both ways.
• Pectin jellies can keep for a very long time in a metal cookie box between layers of parchment or wax paper.
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