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Preparing for Halloween: Fruit Gelées October 24, 2010

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Sweet things.
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Happy almost-Halloween everyone! This is definitely my favourite holiday of the year, and I make absolutely no apologies for devoting multiple blog posts to it, although I’m sure Nero Wolfe wouldn’t approve.

I decided that I’d start my Halloween celebrations by making fruit gelées, which I’d first read about on Not So Humble Pie. When I saw her pretty butterfly gelées, I immediately thought of making bats for Halloween!

This was my first attempt at making any type of candy, and I ended up making two batches because the first one didn’t set properly. I’ll add what I learned in making the second batch and hopefully you can learn from my mistakes!

To start with, I had to collect a couple of somewhat special ingredients for the recipe. To start with, the recipe calls for fruit juice concentrate. I know this is fairly common in the US, and is available in multiple flavours, but all I was able to find here was an orange and mango fruit juice concentrate – and this was after going to 3 different supermarkets! I was happy with this (and the orange works so well for Halloween too!) but it meant I was limited on choice of flavours. Having seen the consistency of the fruit juice concentrate and the final result, I think it would be possible to substitute the canned ‘nectar’-type juices available from the supermarket (eg Apricot nectar).

After I’d sourced the fruit juice concentrate, I still had to find powdered fruit pectin. Again, this seems to be something that is generally available in the US but was not in any supermarket I visited. A trip to the Essential Ingredient resulted in a packet of powdered citrus pectin, and me hoping that this was the same as the pectin called for in the recipe!

I decided to make a half recipe, as the full recipe stated it would make approx. 60 gelées! Unlike some recipes where I generally work out the amounts as I go, this time I sat down and worked out exact amounts before I began. I started the cooking process by setting up two saucepans on the stove – one with light corn syrup and sugar; and the other with the fruit juice concentrate, water, baking soda and the pectin.

The corn syrup/sugar mixture basically looked after itself, and I only had to stir it occasionally as it heated up. To prepare the fruit mixture, I added the fruit juice concentrate, water and baking soda into the saucepan, and mixed it together. After putting the heat on, I added the pectin slowly, whisking constantly until it was incorporated. In the first batch I attempted, I dumped all the pectin in at the start, which resulted in the pectin immediately absorbing all the liquid, leading to lumps and a very odd mixture! So I would strongly recommend adding the pectin slowly and stirring or whisking as you go.

After both mixtures had come to the boil, I reduced the heat. I continued to cook the sugar mixture until it began to turn light brown and then slowly added it to the fruit mixture, again stirring all the time. There’s no photos of this stage because all my hands were busy!

Once it was incorporated, I continued to stir for another couple of minutes, and then poured it into a prepared baking dish. Because I was making half a batch, I used a loaf pan instead of a larger baking tray.

I should note that this pan was probably a bit small for the amount of mixture I had – and the resulting candies were quite thick in consequence. Next time I will use a slightly larger pan – or make a full batch and use a baking tray as directed in the original recipe.

I then began the difficult process of waiting for the mixture to harden. After a couple of hours, it was well and truly hard and I was able to cut shapes out of it. I used my Halloween cookie cutters to cut each shape out, and then rolled each one in caster sugar.

Then it was just a matter of rinsing and repeating for the remainder of the lollies. Since these were for Halloween, I stuck to bats and pumpkins for my shapes – and I must admit that the pumpkin gelées are quite large! I decided to arrange a suitable scene for my Halloween gelées.

Mourning cushion by Jen at Ghoulie Babies

As for the taste – I love all types of jelly-like lollies so I really enjoyed these. The orange-mango flavour came through well and the texture was great – firm with a bit of ‘give’ as they were bitten into, while still quite smooth. Next time, I think I would add the optional citric acid to the caster sugar you roll them in, as a bit of tartness would have been nice to set off the sweetness.

There will definitely be more Halloween posts in the upcoming week(s) and in the meantime I hope you are all enjoying your Halloween preparations!

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Comments»

1. Teena - October 28, 2010

they look gorgeous… pity with all the other Halloween preparations I won’t have time to try this but there’s always Christmas.. or no good readon at all. I’m not even into sweets but I guess it’s easy to convince yourself they’re semi-healthy with all that fruit juice 🙂
thanks for sharing, will let you know how mine turn out (I guess I’ll need more than one attempt 🙂

inspiredbywolfe - October 31, 2010

Well Christmas is definitely a nice time to try them – you could make christmas tree-shaped ones! If you’re going to cut them into shapes, I’d recommend smaller cookie (or fondant) cutters than I’ve used here – they were quite large to eat! Let me know when you try them!


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