CRANBERRY PEAR FRUIT JELLIES

Jellied candies like these are eaten all over Europe as post-dessert petits fours, but how perfect would they be, as well, served as an interesting “twist” on the traditional Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving? There is a stunning picture of these jellies in the November 2004 issue of Gourmet Magazine.

MAKES 64 (ONE-INCH) CANDIES
3 firm-ripe Comice or Bartlett pears (1 1/2 pounds, total)
1 12-ounce bag, fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup, water
3 3/4 cups, sugar
2 tablespoons, unsalted butter
1 3-inch, cinnamon stick
2 3-oz, packages Certo liquid pectin (not powdered)

Rinse an 8-inch square baking pan with water and shake it dry. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap into the bottom and corners of pan to smooth it. (Water helps the plastic wrap adhere.)

Quarter and core the pears, then cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. (Do not peel.)

Bring the pears, cranberries, water, 2 3/4 cups sugar, butter, and the cinnamon stick to a boil in a 4- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the pears are tender – about 10 minutes.

Remove and discard the cinnamon stick, then carefully transfer the hot mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth – about 1 minute. (Mixture will be thick.)

Force through a medium-mesh sieve back into the same pot, pressing on the solids with back of a spoon and discarding the solids.

Put a plate in freezer to chill. Bring the cranberry mixture to a boil over high heat and add pectin. Reduce heat to moderate and cook, stirring frequently, until very thick and pastelike, about 45 minutes.

*To test, remove from heat, then drop a teaspoonful of the mixture onto a chilled plate and chill in the freezer for 1 minute. Tilt the plate. Mixture should remain in a firm mound and not run. If the mixture runs, continue cooking and stirring and repeat the test every 5 minutes.

When cooking is completed, remove from heat and immediately pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Gently tap the sides of the pan to smooth the top and eliminate any air bubbles. Cool to room temperature – at least 1 hour – then cover the surface directly with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.

To serve: unmold the fruit mixture onto a cutting board and remove the plastic wrap. Cut into 1-inch squares using a sharp knife. (For easier cutting, rinse the knife with hot water, then dry it, between cuts.)

Just before serving, spread the remaining one cup of sugar in a shallow bowl and coat the squares on all sides.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine – November 2004