I have finally played around with pectin enough that I can whip up a batch of gelled candy without worrying about recipes. They make it seem so hard! Here’s what works for me.
I visited some good friends in Minneapolis for the Minnesota State Fair, and since they had given me some molds for candy just because they saw them and thought of me, I’d been planning ever since we thought up the trip to bring them candy made in the molds. One of them loves wine, and I think she’s actually a red wine person, but my red wine candies from Valentine’s Day didn’t taste quite candy-like enough. I thought a Riesling, a white wine known for being sweet, would make a great candy. The only ingredients are:
- a bottle of Riesling
- a little sugar – I didn’t measure, just poured a little in, but I’d say 3-4 Tbsp is a good guess. It’ll depend on your wine, anyway.
- a box of SureJell pectin, the kind that doesn’t require sugar to gel
- Put a small plate in your freezer.
- If your pectin is powdered like mine was, mix a little of the wine with the pectin in order to make a slurry so the pectin won’t clump as much when you stir it in later.*
- Heat the wine and sugar until it comes to a rolling boil. (To be honest, I didn’t add the sugar until I had started testing it and tasting the test bits and realized it could be a little sweeter.)
- Whisk in the pectin.
- After a few minutes, start testing small spoonfuls of the mixture by putting them on the freezer plate, putting the plate back in the freezer for a couple of minutes, and then pressing on the cooled gel. At first, your finger will make an indentation in the gel. But after a while, the gel will split under the pressure, because it’s more solid. That’s when it’s ready.
- Remove from the heat and pour into your molds. Alternatively, and more traditionally, pour into a rectangular or square pan and cut into squares when cooled.
- It’s also traditional to toss the finished candies in sanding sugar, but I think they’re prettier as they are and find the sugar distracting taste-wise. Plus I hate to have to worry about whether or not the sugar will draw out the moisture and get itself dissolved.
*I’m not sure if making the slurry was necessary, because I noticed there were some clumps in the pectin-wine mixture anyway, and yet when the candy was done and I poured it into the molds, I saw no clumps. So maybe it all works itself out in the intense boiling that goes on.
I also molded some, as with my red wine batch, in a mini madeleine pan. Works beautifully, and the shell shape makes them easy to slip out of the molds. I greased all of my molds with a little coconut oil to be on the safe side, but I’m not sure it matters.
I ended up with enough to fill both of the molds my friends gave me (they have 11 spots each, with each spot holding maybe 2 tsp) and my mini madeleine pan, and have a little left on the bottom of my saucepan to try.