Recipe: blueberry pear pâte de fruits
Today was a crazy day, but I don’t want to go into detail now other than to say that (thankfully) everyone in our house is alright. So I’m going to delve into the recipe because it’s something utterly wonderful to look forward to and it will take my mind off of the clusterfuck that was today.
Ever since I successfully tried my hand at making cranberry pâte de fruits, I’ve run up a big list of fruits to transform into these sweet, chewy, tart, colorful jewels. Right before the holidays, I unearthed a bag of frozen blueberries from my freezer and wondered if they could be made into fruit jellies. After some searching, I settled on this lovely recipe that combines pears, blueberries, and lavender. Except I omitted the lavender because you’re not always sure everyone wants to eat something so perfumed, and these were going out as gifts.
liquid pectin, water, anjou pears, lemon, blueberries, sugar
peeling the pears
adding pear quarters to the sugar and blueberries
pour in some water
The recipe is pretty straightforward – cook the fruit, purée the fruit, simmer it down, cool, cut, and sugar. Oh, but your kitchen will be filled with the smell of blueberries bubbling away on the stove. The pears turn a delightful shade of deep pinkish purple too. There is no straining involved, so it moves along quickly until the final simmer.
cooking the fruit until the pears are tender
purée in a blender
pour the purée back into a pan
I simmered my purée down in a larger pot because the increased surface area translates into less stove time (not a lot less, but at my altitude I’ll take it). The nominal simmer time is about an hour to let the liquid boil off and bring the purée to a thick consistency – thick enough that it leaves a temporary part in the bottom when you run your spoon down the center of the pan.
add lemon juice
stir in more sugar
and finally pour the pectin into the pot
This batch was ready. If you are ever in doubt, you can always take a little spoonful of it and pour it on a white plate. If it gels, it’s ready to go into the baking pan. If it doesn’t gel, it needs more time on the stove. Once the purée is in the pan, let it cool for an hour. If it has set, you can turn it out and start cutting it up. If it hasn’t, cover it with plastic and pop it into the refrigerator to cool for a few hours or up to two weeks. I have to admit that I prefer to cut my pâte de fruits with cute-shaped little cutters, but there are a lot of wasted scraps involved and I wasn’t interested in eating them (too many holiday sweets). So I went with cubes which are nice enough considering they deliver a burst of bright fruity flavors.
cooling in the pan
cutting into cubes
I liked that they weren’t overly sweet and how the pear was a nice subtle complement to the fruity blueberries. I thought they were good. Then I packed them all up and sent them on their merry way to various recipients and promptly forgot about them. It wasn’t until emails, phone calls, and direct feedback trickled in that I discovered people absolutely loved the pâte de fruits. So surprise someone with a bite of fruity goodness – or better yet, surprise your own mouth!
a stack of pretty pâte de fruits
sink your teeth into something sweet
Blueberry Pear Pâte de Fruits
based on this recipe
2 lbs. anjou pears
1 lb. blueberries, fresh or frozen
3 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
6 oz. liquid pectin (2 3-oz. pkgs)
3 tbsps fresh lemon juice
extra sugar for coating
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper (I layered with two sheets that overlapped at the base). Wash, peel, halve, core, and slice the pears into quarters. Stir the pears, blueberries, 2 cups of sugar, and water together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the pears are tender. Cool the fruit a little and then purée the mixture until smooth. Return the purée to a large saucepan and add the pectin, lemon juice, and 1 cup of sugar over medium heat. When the purée begins to bubble, reduce the heat to a low simmer and stir often until the mixture becomes thick (about an hour). Pour the purée into the baking pan, smoothing the top surface as best you can, and let it cool for an hour. You can cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks. When ready, turn the pâte de fruit out on a cutting board and cut with a knife or with cutters. If your fruit jellies are on the wet side, you can let them dry on a cooling rack for a day, otherwise roll the pieces in sugar. Makes 64 1-inch squares.
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