Pectin Jellies

Appears in

Chocolates and Confections

By Peter Greweling

Published 2007

  • About

Pectin (see Comparison of Various Binding Agents table) produces a tender, relatively short-textured gel with a very pleasant mouthfeel. Pectin is the most demanding of the hydrocolloids used in jelly production, but it produces a superior product with an excellent texture and good flavor release. Pectin is used in making both high-quality jelly bean centers and the jellies that many artisan confectioners call by their French name, pâtes de fruit. The pectin of choice for confectionery use is high-methoxyl (HM), slow-setting (low-DM) pectin. Low-methoxyl (LM) pectins are chemically modified products that do not require a high sugar content to set, but do require the presence of calcium. This variety of pectin is used in low-sugar confectionery and will therefore not be considered in this book. The use of any pectin other than the slow-setting variety can cause production difficulties, as the pectin begins to gel very rapidly. LM pectin forms a gel that is not thermoreversible; the results for the confectioner can be many unfilled molds and a large container of set pectin jelly that cannot be used in rework. To form a proper gel, HM pectin requires a dissolved-solids content of 60 percent or higher, and a pH of approximately 3.0 to 3.6. Both of these conditions are easily achieved in confectionery; the dissolved solids of all confections must be above 75 percent to be shelf stable, and acidity not only permits the pectin to gel but adds flavor contrast as well. Pectin is degraded by extended cooking; it should therefore be cooked to the desired temperature as quickly as possible. Pectin is used at a rate of approximately 1 to 1.5 percent of the weight of the finished product. Pectin jellies may be made using manufactured flavors, but most artisan confectioners use fruit purées as a basis for these candies.