A 'pâte de fruit' is a clear French style jellied fruit, set with pectin, and coated in sugar. Their luxury lies in the intense flavour of the key ingredient - the fruit, or in this case carrot - reduced with sugar, into a thick-set preserve. Supermarket, or bland corner shop carrots, are not ideal for this pâte de fruit recipe - it's one to save for a glut of sweet, 'carroty' carrots, from the garden or a farmer's market.
This recipe was inspired by the blackcurrant and licorice pâte de fruit recipe in David Everitt-Matthias' fabulous book Dessert. Everitt-Matthias suggested other ideas for the pâte de fruit, including and carrot and cardamom - a flavour profile reminiscent of Indian desserts, and carrot halwa, which works beautifully in a petit four.
The recipe below (and photographed) makes a firm set. A far softer batch, made with a third of the quantity of pectin, was described by one taster as like eating "jellied baby ears... in a good way". Yup, we weren't sure how to interpret that either - but she happily tucked the box into her handbag to save for later, so I'd imagine it's a good thing. Adjust the quantity of yellow pectin, depending on which texture you'd prefer. With less pectin, the pâte de fruit will need to be refrigerated before slicing.
Ingredients Serves: 20
For the coating
- Line a 10cm x 16cm rectangular dish with oiled baking parchment or silicon paper (greaseproof paper will stick).
- Blend the cooked carrots in a food processor, adding a little of the cooking water at a time until the carrot forms a smooth purée. The water will boil off when the pâte de fruit cooks, so if you add a lot, cooking will just take a little longer.
- Transfer the carrot purée into a heavy bottomed sauce pan, stir in the cardamom, and bring to the boil. Whisk in 350g of the caster sugar and the corn syrup, and bring to the boil again. Mix together the remaining 50g sugar and pectin, and set aside.
- Keep stirring the mixture with a whisk. When the temperature reaches 102°C, whisk in the pectin/sugar mixture. Continue stirring until the mixture reaches 108°C. Stir in the lemon juice, remove from heat and pour into the lined dish.
After a stage as a chef at a London Michelin-starred restaurant Nicola became obsessed with seeking the best flavours from around the world. She started Sous Chef in 2012, and is always sharing her knowledge of ingredients and writing recipes to showcase those products. Learning from the products, Sous Chef's suppliers and her travels, Nicola has written the majority of the recipes on the Sous Chef website, all of which are big on flavour.