Apple pectin, sugars and roselle: test recipe for diabetes

October 6th, 2011 | Posted by greg in Daily life... | Recipes

With fresh roselle available on the local market shelves, I was poised to create. Yet, as I dug into countless websites, books and other magazines, I couldn’t find much recipes beside ice tea.

Roselle and raspberries

Fresh roselle and raspberries The last time we had roselle was in its dried form and it had a nice and balanced sourness; they fitted quite well in sweet macaron shells.This time around, I wanted to exploit the sourness of roselle in a different way.The roselle you see on the photo is the actual fruit of the plant, not the flower. The acidity of the fresh roselle is unreal and I felt that the dried one were much more fragrant (the price of the dried one was also fragrant!) – that is probably due to the extraction of liquid while drying, taking away part of the acidity, yet leaving the aromas intact.

The fruits without their core

It was going to be pate de fruit, or fruit jellies. And more than testing out the roselle, I wanted to test different pectin and different sugars. I can hear you loud and clear: Argh! Too sweet and boring! I agree, with traditional pate de fruit, it’s easy to get carried away with acidity, while trying to counterbalance the sweetness. It often ends up in an off-balance candy, very sweet and very acid without any flavor: worst feeling in the world (beside running out of chocolate and biting aluminum foil.) Old fashion pate de fruit recipes call for 2 part of sugar for 1 part of fruit. Yoohoo says my dentist!

To reap all the essence of the fresh roselle, I decided to follow my Mom’s step in jam making. I removed the green core from the flowers, broke the fruits into rough pieces and mixed it with sugar and raspberries. I then left all of this at room temperature for 24 hours.

The removed cores, sometimes used to add even more acidity.

The next day, I obtained a stunningly deep red and fragrant mixture; it worked. I had to find a way to keep the flavors and the color as vibrant as they were now and I knew that using the traditional way to make pate de fruit would trash all my efforts.

I chose to use a bar blender to puree finely the raspberry roselle mixture. The roselle flesh would not be completely pureed and was left in tiny pieces which was welcome, as it created some sort of texture in the gelled fruit paste along with the raspberry seeds (which I love in my jams anyway!).

Ingredients mixed

All crushed and ready to infuse for 24 hours.

After the blending process - stunning colors and flavors


So far, I was on target. Then instead of cooking the bright red puree with sugar, glucose and pectin to some crazy degrees before mixing in citric acid, I chose a different method using a commercial jam pectin from France Vitpris Ruban Noire. The brand used to be independent, but now got bought by a giant food company. On the box, ingredients says pectin and citric acid. Classic… this is where Roselle meets Ester!

Pectin is a pretty amazing ingredient to use in pastry.

Free advertising! :)

There are several types of pectin made for different usage, yet they all fall into two main categories: high methyl ester (HM) pectin and the other is, as you could figure out, low methyl ester (LM) pectin. HM pectin has more than 50% of the acid units esterified and will set pretty quickly when the pH is increased as the chain of pectin get tangled together, however, HM pectin is thermoirreversible (you should hear me say that word!) . The low methyl ester pectin will have less than 50% of acid esterified. That one will gel better in the presence of calcium and will be thermoreversible – otherwise known as pectin NH, it is often used in pastry glazing and it also works in lower sweet environment. So, Vitpris is most likely a mixture of HM pectin and citric acid making our life much easier!

For the little story, low methyl ester pectin is used as a thickening agent in UHT yogurt as the pectin stops the milk protein from curdling in high heat treatment and this is how long life yogurt drink can be produced. Very interesting!

Sugar and Vitpris mixed

How about the sugar?

For the recipe, I cooked the puree with some trimoline (inverted sugar: 50% less sweet, smooth texture and prevent sugar to recrystallize), added the sugar and Vitpris mixture and finally added a large dash of Chambord liquor to round all those flavors together. Once done, I poured the gelled mixture into small quenelle silicon mat and left them for a few hours to cool down and set.

While talking about pectin and sugar, I was prompted by my twitter friend @Miskmask (talented owner of Misk Cooks blog)  regarding diabetes. I thought it was definitely a recipe where we could try to be diabetes-friendly. The recipe already calls for much less sugar than the ‘original’ pate de fruit, yet, I was wondering if the same recipe would work with sweeteners other than sucrose. First I thought about fructose, but a quick look on the below sugar sweetness chart discouraged me right away. Fructose is 73% sweeter than normal sugar. Thus, I would have needed to reduce its quantity in the recipe and the texture of the jelly wouldn’t have worked. Perhaps trying to work uniquely with inverted sugar would work better and even make it less sweet. Although inverted sugar is still a significant intake of carbohydrates for people suffering from diabetes, it was already much more suitable than regular sugar.

The silicon moulds

And so, I tested the same recipe, replacing all the sugar with inverted sugar, but the result was too soft (making a perfect cake glazing by the way). This showed that this high methyl ester pectin needed a sweeter environment to work its magic along with citric acid.The solution was a different recipe altogether using low methyl ester pectin and I had to add 10% of regular sugar to make it work (sorry!). Also, I had to come back to a boiling point of 102 degree Celsius which ultimately affected the fruit property. So while it wasn’t optimal for diabetes, it was already a great step forward against traditional pate de fruit.

Ingredients (for low-sugar)

  • 900 gm of the same fruit puree (explained below)
  • 300 gm inverted sugar
  • 33 gm of NH pectin or X58 pectin (low methyl ester pectins)
  • 90gm of sugar
  • 15 gm citric acid (melted in a little water)


  1. Boil the fruit puree with the inverted sugar
  2. Mix the pectin and granulated sugar and add to the puree
  3. Boil to 102 Celsius and add the diluted citric acid
  4. Mix well and pour into molds until set

Either with regular sugar or inverted sugar, I was satisfied with the result. Not so sweet, great color and with a pleasant fragrance of Roselle all the way through. The short cooking and the low temperature helped preserving flavor, color and all the goodness present in the fruits… you know all these things the doctor says you need to eat more of!

The good old Chambord


Ingredients (with regular sugar)

For the puree

  • 270 gm Raspberries
  • 300 gm Fresh Roselle flowers
  • 450 gm sugar (if the puree is for the low-sugar recipe, use inverted sugar instead)

For the pate de fruit

  • 900 gm of the above puree
  • 130 gm Trimoline (inverted sugar)
  • 97 gm Vitpris Ruban Noire (thermoirreversible! ah!!)
  • 140 gm Sugar
  • 100 ml Chambord

For the puree

  1. Remove the green core of the Roselle flowers and break them into rough pieces.
  2. Mix them with the sugar and the raspberries; mash it in to a puree.
  3. Leave it at room temperature for 24 hours.
  4. The next day, blend smoothly into a puree.

For the pate de fruit

  1. Measure 900 gm of the above puree and bring it to nearly boiling with the trimoline.
  2. Mix the sugar and the Vitpris together and add it into the hot puree.
  3. On low fire, cook it for 1 minute to coagulate the pectin.
  4. Once done, add the Chambord out of heat and pour the liquid into the molds.
  5. Allow cooling for several hours.


What’s even better, it that they’re not sticky, and using a ton of white sugar around them isn’t necessary!

PS: Enjoy the recipes and following my last post on copyright and plagiarism, I am happy to have introduced watermark on all photos and copy prevention for text and images.

Readers who viewed this post also viewed:

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can leave a response, or trackback.

8 Responses

  • Manlun Tung says:

    Salute you!

  • colette says:

    Amazingly thorough post! I’ve got to say that so far although I’ve tried and tried to like pâtes des fruits, making them after tempting recipes I am always disappointed as I find them unbearably sweet for my tooth :) I’m not a big fan of overly sweet recipes (something you mentioned in a macaron post and I agreed with instantly) so I keep the idea that with very sour but flavourful fruits I may finally like it! I tried a maracuya recipe that didn’t work out particularly well due to low setting w/HM pectin (though the flavour I liked) and was hoping to try a raspberry and rhubarb one, when I get hold of rhubarb..but your hibiscus alternative sounds wonderful! Specially if the set is not sticky so I can skip the sugar coating part!

    Just a doubt, I have dried ones, do you think I could use some of that instead-hydrated, maybe reduce the amount if they are more aromatic and substitute for more raspberries, as I am certain, sadly, that I cannot find fresh where I live. Thank you anyway for the interesting post and recipes and by the way, great going about the watermarks in the photos! (I always think I ought to do that, but never get around to!)

    • Thank you Colette – I totally relate to you with not liking overly sweet desserts. Rhubarb raspberry sounds fantastic too, but what I like with hibiscus is the massive release of natural red color and sourness, it’s very striking!

      With the dry hibiscus flowers, I guess re-hydrating them would work. I would, like you said, reduce its amount and level it with raspberries.

      Thanks a lot for your great comment!  :)))

  • Christine says:

    Easy said (read) than done! ;) very informative and interesting post. Like frui jellies!

    Pate de fruit remind me of my snacks (gouters) when I was a child.

    Thx for sharing on a Monday!!!

  • Pingback: From the Zen Organic Farm to your table - Gregoire Michaud

  • Liza says:

    Wondering if you could sub corn syrup for the trimoline? or even glucose?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All right reserved