19 Les Poissonchat’s Wondrous Advent Calendar – Pate de Fruits

Pate de Fruits

What would Christmas be without the pâte de fruits. It’s basically fruit jelly, only just really so much better. They’re served after splendidly long meals along the coffee, and they’re the size that will fit your stomach even after seven courses, promised. 

My favourite flavour is blackberry, yours? 

What you’ll need

  • 300g blackberries
  • 300g sugar
  • 2 sheets of gelatine (20g)
  • Half a lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves
  • More sugar for dusting

How to cook it

Heat the blackberries with the sugar until it boils, cook at medium heat for five minutes and puree it all. Add the lemon juice and the cloves and cook for at least an hour or longer, the pulp should cook to about 114°C. If you don’t have a thermometer at hand, drop a bit of the pulp on a small plate and let cool in the fridge to see if the mass thickens to a jelly-like consistency. Don’t forget to stir well so that it won’t burn!

When its cooked, remove the cloves and let it cool a little. Dissolve the gelatine sheets in a little cold water and add to the blackberry jam, stir well until the mass sets, then spread out the pulp to about 2-3cm on parchment paper on a tray and dry out for at least 24h on a warm and dry spot. 

If you feel the pate isn’t firm enough, you may also dry it in the oven at 40°C over night. 

Pour a generous heap of sugar on the worktop and put the pate on top with the sticky side on the sugar bed, press gently and then remove the parchment paper. Turn the pate so the other side is on the sugar bed and then either cut into cubes or use metal cookie cutters to cut it into christmassy shapes. 

Keep in a dry spot or eat them all up. 

How to eat it

After a long and sumptuous meal, with a petit noir alongside, a little liqueur is definitely permitted too. 

This is Les Poissonchat’s Wondrous Advent Calendar! Advent calendars are a huge tradition where I come from: you make little gifts for your loved ones every day until Christmas Day, fourandtwenty little surprises. The advent calendars come in beautifully old fashioned prints on cardboard, with extra glitter, and each day there’s a paper door waiting for you to pry open. Others are more elaborate, pretty baskets filled with twenty four numbered parcels, decorated with red velvet ribbons. The one I’m making for you this season is altogether a different one, and, quite obviously, it’s about beloved France, Christmas in France, and after all, what it takes to celebrate a proper French Christmas.

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