These sugarcoated candies are like a cross between gumdrops and gummy bears, and they’re an easy treat to make for a Christmas cookie plate, Halloween party, or elegant dinner party. Simply cook sugar, applesauce, grapefruit juice, and pectin on the stovetop until the mixture hits 220°F. Then stir in grapefruit zest and a little food coloring. Pour the mixture into a pan to set in the fridge for a couple of hours, then cut into squares, toss with sugar, and serve.
Special equipment: You’ll need a candy/fat thermometer for this recipe.
What to buy: Pectin, a thickener that occurs naturally in some fruits, is what gives this candy its bouncy texture. You can find it in the baking aisle of well-stocked grocery stores grouped with the canning supplies, or online.
- Yield: 64 (1-inch) squares
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 3 hrs
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened smooth applesauce
- 2/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1 tablespoon powdered pectin
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest
- 4 to 5 drops red food coloring (optional)
- Cut a 16-inch-long piece of parchment paper and fold over the edges so it measures 8 inches wide. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with the parchment, seam-side down (the 2 long ends will hang over the edges). Be sure to fit the parchment as smoothly as possible into the dish, snugly creasing it into the corners; set the pan aside.
- Place 1 cup of the sugar, the applesauce, juice, and pectin in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan, add 1 more cup of the sugar (set the remaining 1/2 cup aside), and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 220°F, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and remove the thermometer. Stir in the zest and the food coloring, if using. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate until set, about 2 to 3 hours.
- To remove the pâte de fruit from the pan, sprinkle 1/4 cup of the remaining sugar in a thin, even layer about the size of the baking pan on a cutting board. Invert the pan, and the pâte de fruit, onto the sugar and peel off and discard the parchment.
- Cut the pâte de fruit into 1-inch squares. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar evenly over the top and toss the squares in the sugar to completely coat. Store in a covered container at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. (If the pâte de fruit absorbs the sugar coating, just toss the pieces with more sugar before serving.)