This week, I’m back with my very own home-made red berry pastels. I love any type of confectioneries but I’ve never really tried to make my own before because it’s always seemed quite difficult. Fruit pastels are actually a great way to get started, they’re basically like hard jam coated in sugar…in other words, not for the faint-hearted but a great treat that can make a sweet Christmas present.
To make 25 fruit pastels, you need:
- 450 g berries of your choice (strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant...)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 30 g liquid pectin
- 380 g granulated sugar
- Line a 20 cm x 20 cm tin with cling-film.
- In a saucepan, cook your berries with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and 30 g of the sugar over a low heat until the fruit is mushy.
- Pass the fruit purée through a sieve to get rid of the seeds.
- Clean the pan, pour the purée back into it and add 200 g of sugar. Cook over a low heat until the mixture reaches a temperate of 107°C, using a jam thermometer.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and the pectin. Stir and make sure the mixture returns to 107°C.
- Pour the mixture into the tin. When cold, cover it with cling-film and let it set for a few hours or, ideally, overnight.
- When set, cut into squares, or whatever shape you fancy, and cover with granulated sugar. Hey presto!
If you don't have a jam thermometer, you can use another technique to check whether you've reached the 'soft ball' stage. When you drop a little of the fruit mixture in a bowl of very cold water it should set in a soft ball.
But to be honest, I haven't found this technique to be 100% reliable.