Candyfest 2012: Fresh Cranberry Pate de Fruit

Pate Square w Watermark

Are you looking for a way to use up that bag of cranberries that you have left over from the Holidays? Or perhaps you are simply planning ahead to make something special for your Valentine? I’ve got just the thing. 

Cranberries and Lemon w WatermarkLast year, before Christmas, my friend Paula and I held our annual candy making extravaganza that I have come to know as Candyfest. This year we were joined by my friend Wendy as well and since we had all that woman power, we decided to be ambitious and make no less than 10 kinds of candy. That was enough for every slot in the box plus a slab of Peppermint Bark on top.

I had dreams of posting some of the new candy before Christmas, but as my holiday pie orders increased, shifted my goal to before Valentine’s Day.

This recipe comes from Cooking Lessons and you won’t believe how easy it was!

In fact I am feeling inspired and plan to make all sorts of pate de fruit with my slightly-too-ripe fruit in the future. Only four, count them, four ingredients go into this fresh and delicious candy.


Fresh Cranberry Pate de Fruit
from Cooking Lessons

  • 1 small lemon, sliced and seeds removed
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
  • 6 ounces (1 bottle or 2 pouches) Certo liquid pectin
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar, and more for rolling

1. Cut two 8-by-13-inch rectangles of parchment paper to line an 8-inch square pan. Place one rectangle in pan in one direction and the  second rectangle overlapping in the opposite direction. (See the photo later in the post for more detail on this)

Look how pretty the cranberries and lemons are together in the processor.

Fruit in Blender w Watermark

2. Purée lemon slices, cranberries and 1/4 cup water in food processor until smooth. The puree process took about 6-7 minutes…longer than I would have thought, but stick with it, it will get smooth eventually.

3. Combine cranberry purée in medium sauce pan with sugar, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring often, for 4 minutes. The red is intense and gorgeous!

Pate in the Pot Watermark

4. Remove pan from heat and stir in pectin. Return to heat and bring to a boil again. Stir for 1 minute. Pour into pan and let cool until set. My candy began to set almost immediately. Cover and refrigerate in pan until ready to cut.

Pate in the Pan w Watermark

5. Using the parchment paper as handles, lift the square of jelly out in one piece and set it on a cutting board. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 1-inch squares and roll in sugar.

NOTE: The sugar eventually melts and oozes on the candy. To delay this process, the original recipe recommends cutting the candies and then drying the cut candies on a rack for an hour or so before rolling them in the sugar. I had no patience for such a thing, so I rolled the freshly cut candy in sugar and then placed them on small squares of wax paper. They did ooze a bit over time, but remained delicious for days.

TASTING NOTES: I really liked these candies. They were sweet, but also somewhat tart and ever so slightly bitter (from the pith on the lemons, I imagine). The taste was complex and the mouthfeel was lovely. Plus they are fat free, so healthy, right?

Pate Square w WatermarkNext up for Candyfest 2012…Cherry Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge. Yummmm!


  1. Besides cranberries, what else can I use?

    • I’m really not sure. I would imagine that you could use a similar amount of peaches, strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries, raspberries (I would strain out the seeds), kiwi, etc. For sweeter fruits, cutting back on the sugar would be advised. But all of this is a bit of a guess since this is the first time I have made Pate de Fruit. If you do some experimentation, please let me know what you discover. 🙂 – H

      • i would think great dipped in chocolate!

  2. This recipe just straight up doesn’t work. Not with the measly 4 minutes of cooking time. If that’s what you did, I am at a loss to explain how these set; I followed these instructions to a T, and it never came close to setting. They have to get to a temperature of 235 degrees F. This blogger seems to have done the same thing:
    Am I missing something? Did I misread something? I followed the other blog’s instructions and it worked, but I still don’t get how on earth yours worked if that’s all the time you boiled it.

    • Hi Ben,
      I’m so sorry that this recipe didn’t work for you. I have had my share of recipe fails and I know what a frustrating waste of time and resources it can be. I only made these the one time and followed the instructions as they were laid out at which did call for a 4 minute cooking time. My pate de fruit did set up fine with the shorter time and I really enjoyed them, but sometimes the cooking gods don’t smile. – H

  3. Do I have to use whole lemon or can I make this with just cranberries and lemon juice?

    • I’m not sure. If you try it, let me know.

  4. I read on a pastry chefs blog that dipping the cut gels in grain alcohol (everclear) will cause a skin to for on the outside so that you can roll the sliced bits in sugar and they won’t get sticky.


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