I learned something doing this challenge. I learned that I hate making candy. To me baking involves the oven, not hours of standing in front of the stove! I have made candy twice now, my first and last! Initially when I first saw the Challenge I was thrilled, it sounded wonderful! Everyone was sharing their photo’s and ideas which all looked delicious.
I apologize right now to our wonderful hosts for my shenanigans. This challenge was just not for me!
The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
So this months Daring bakers Challenge was making Candy, any kind. We were to make 2 kinds, one of which had to be chocolate. So, I guess I really didn’t complete the challenge because I was not able to make a chocolate one.
The Tale of Erica’s Candy Making
As soon as I saw the recipe for the Pate de Fruits I knew that I was going to make them. They looked delicious! I decided to use a berry mixture that I had in the freezer (maybe my first mistake), blackberry, blueberry and raspberries. I then followed the recipe for the Strawberry Pate de Fruits (perhaps mistake #2). Because I thought they would be so wonderful I thought it would be a fantastic idea to double the recipe! (mistake #3, you can see where this is going)
Berry Pate de Fruits
3 cups (16 oz/450 gm) Strawberries, fresh or defrosted from frozen
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Lemon juice, fresh
2 cups (16 oz/ 450 gm) Granulated White Sugar
2½ tablespoons (38 ml) Liquid Pectin
1. Prepare an 9”x13” (20cmx20xm) pan by lining it with aluminium foil or parchment paper and spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Place the berries in a blender or food processor and process until very well pureed.
So far so good…..
3. Pour them through a mesh strainer into a medium saucepan, discarding any remaining fruit chunks.
Here starts another problem. My strainer was too big and seeds and skin was getting though
I had the bright idea that I should strain it through cheesecloth! (mistake #4). It was too thick to just strain though. I had to squeeze the heck out of it. When you squeeze cheesecloth the juice does not just drip down, no no, it squirts everywhere!!! I looked like I had just murdered someone, there was dark red juice everywhere, all over me, the counter and my hands were stained for 3 days!
What I managed to get into the pot
4. Stir in the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar, place the pan over medium-high heat, and insert a candy thermometer.
5. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it is hot, around 140°F/60°C. Add the remaining 1.5 cups of sugar and the liquid pectin, and lower the heat to medium.
Disaster strikes here! No where did it say use a Large pot, now granted I doubled the recipe (refer back to mistake #3) so I used a medium pot (mistake #5)
stirring away, thinking I was doing pretty good I notice the level rising
Panic sets in “Oh MY GOD its going to bubble over”
Frantically, I turn the heat off and remove it from heat (mistake #6) and throwing the pots out of the cupboard to find a big one (yep I literally threw them, it was a noisy few seconds). I quickly poured the bubbling bloody mess into a big cold pot (mistake #7, that can’t be good).
6. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture registers 200°F/93°C.
At which point I drop the stirring spoon into the bubbling hot bloody mess (mistake #8)
Now all I can do is laugh, REALLY?!?! can anything else go wrong? Yep!
7. At 200 F turn the heat to low and hold it at 200°F/93°C for 2-3 minutes.
8. After this, return the heat to medium and bring it up to 225°F/107°C. This process will take some time, especially with the heat on medium, so have patience and be diligent in stirring frequently so the bottom doesn’t scorch.
Take time! they were not kidding, an hour and forty minutes later, the liquid still fairly runny but I think burnt on the bottom (mistake #9) it finally hits 225 F
9. Once the fruit paste reaches 225°F/107°C, turn the heat to low and keep it at that temperature for an additional 2-minutes.
10. Remove the pan from the heat and pour into the prepared pan, smoothing it into an even layer. ( no need to smooth, still quite runny (mistake #10)
–Looks pretty good!
Thought I would spread a think layer on parchment paper and make homemade fruit roll-ups! (you guessed it mistake #11)
11. Allow the pate de fruit mixture to set at room temperature for several hours, until completely cool and firm. Use a sharp knife to cut it into very small squares, and roll the individual pieces in granulated sugar.
After all that I am still positive it will be good. Looks tasty! But now we wait, and wait! 5 hours later I went to cut it, still not firm, but cooled so I put them in the fridge until morning.
First thing in the morning I make a cup of tea and get out the try to try my candy.
1. It didn’t set, was like thick jam
2. Couldn’t cut them, had to use a spoon
3. They tasted horrible! like really terrible. and I quote from a tester “that is the worst thing you have ever made!
At this point I through it all in the garbage , no photos, no sugar rolling, nothing!
Candy totally defeated me. I wanted to make some filled chocolate candies but just wasn’t in the budget 😦 I do hope to try that sometime.
I think I will stick to oven baking!
Thank you to our hosts for this challenge, I just wish I had better luck.