Adapted from "Classic Candy: Old-Style Fudge, Taffy, Caramel Corn, and Dozens of Other Treats for the Modern Kitchen" by Abigail R. Gehring
Makes:64 (1-inch) squares
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.
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.
2 1/2 cupsgranulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened smooth applesauce
2/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 tablespoonpowdered pectin
1/2 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest
4 to 5 dropsred 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.)