Sometimes things do not turn out the way you expect.  In those cases, it is always advantageous to have a Plan B up your sleeve.

As part of petits fours month, I was going to feature a berry-licious pâte de fruits.  Bite sized squares of jellied fruit, that pack a big punch.  In consultation with my reference books for the month, and The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts, in particular, I was all ready to puree, boil and set.

But one ingredient was going to trip me up.  Pectin.  The humble pectin, as it turns out, is not so humble.  Simply grabbing jam pectin from my local grocery store, figuring it would be up for the job, was my big mistake.

I was blissfully unaware of the sheer range of pectin available.  Now, after the fact, although not a pectin expert by any means, I have quickly discovered my pectin of choice should have been yellow pectin, or pectin jaune.  There is a special pectin for making jellied product.  (Though no mention of this is in the fundamental pastry book written by the French Culinary Institute.)

If you are interested, and fluent in French, you can see the breakdown of different pectin for a range of common sweets and confectioneries.  Or here to see all the variations between apple and citrus pectin.  To a novice, it was initially daunting to review the detail.

However, pouring over chemical compositions, trying to make head and tail of the once seemingly simple subject of pectin, I was swiftly taken back (almost 20 years!) to my university days when I was a biochemistry student.

Trading my crystal violet stained lab coat for an apron, and the outlook of sandstone buildings for my leafy views from my kitchen, this pectin mistake was turning out to be an adventure.

Good news is, the failed pâte de fruits was not beyond salvage.  In fact, given that jam strength pectin was used, it made for a very thick, berry conserve.  This conserve was my Plan B.  And I must say, with fresh homemade bread hot out of the oven ready to be eaten, a very good Plan B indeed.

Jam and bread

{ Plan B  :: Homemade berry conserve with freshly baked French epi bread }