Foraged fruit pastilles, dark, chewy and sparkling with sugar, are a favourite at this time of year!
The combination of late summer and early Autumn’s glut of wild fruit means there is an abundance out there in nature’s larder to play with. For this foraging recipe, we’ve used a combination of rowan berries, blackberries, plums and apples, but feel free to try your own combinations! You could also use elderberries, crab apples and hawthorn berries too.
Making your very own foraged fruit pastilles is a great way to indulge in wild ingredients found in late summer / early autumn by making this classic confectionery – and let’s be honest, how many times have you peeled back the silver foil on that well-known packet of fruit pastilles in search of your favourite black ones?
This batch will make quite a vast quantity of foraged fruit pastilles, leaving plenty to fill a couple of jars for gifts too. If you’d like more/less wild pastilles then alter the recipe accordingly (just make sure you keep proportions the same!).
900g foraged fruits
(we used a combination of 250g rowan berries, 200g blackberries, 250g wild cherry plums and 200g chopped apples)
Juice from one freshly squeezed orange
Caster Sugar (Depends on weight of fruit)
Pop all your fruit into a large, heavy bottom pan. You’ll be sieving everything, so needn’t worry about de-stoning plums if you’re using them!
Squeeze in the orange juice and put the pan on a low heat; stirring with a wooden spoon as the fruit starts to soften. It should take 20-30 minutes for the fruit to break down. Remove from the heat, then carefully squash the pulpy liquid through a sieve into a bowl.
Once you have sieved the fruit mixture in the bowl, take a note of the weight of the fruit (subtracting the weight of the bowl), then measure out an equal amount of sugar. Pour the fruit mixture and the sugar back into the pan, and bring to a boil. Keep the heat bubbling away for a good 30 minutes (at least – it can take a while). As it thickens, be very careful that it doesn’t catch and burn.
You’ll know when it’s ready when you run a wooden spoon through the fruit mixture and you can still see the line at the bottom of the pan (if you have a temperature probe, you’re looking for a temperature of 104*C).
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, sprinkled liberally with caster sugar. Scoop the purée into the prepared tin and leave to set for at least 6 hours or overnight. (You’re looking for a depth of approximately 1cm if possible!).
Flip the pastille mixture out of the tin and onto another sheet of greaseproof sprinkled with sugar, and carefully peel off the backing paper.
Once set, cut into small squares or roll into small balls, then roll in caster sugar.
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If you’re popping them into jars for gifts, ensure to leave to dry for around an hour before packaging.
Eat and enjoy immediately or store in an air-tight container at room temperature for at least a month in a cool dry cupboard. If you find that they start to become sticky or sweat a little, just dust them with more caster sugar before serving.
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