Apple Pastila – Fruit Puree Based Confectionery

To Georgie

Pastila is naturally gluten free confectionery with a light mousse like texture and intense fruit taste. It is very similar in texture to what we know as marshmallows, but it is quite different in taste, as it is based on fruit and berries puree. Authentic recipe of pastila is based on agar agar as a gelling agent. The majority of pastila recipes have thick apple puree as the main ingredient, either on its own, or mixed with plum, quince or berries puree.

Plum pastila

Quince pastila

Apple black currants pastila

Apple plum and cranberry pastila

Green firm apples (Granny Smith) are the best to use, as they contain more pectin, that plays a significant role in the formation of the texture. The two other principal ingredients are regular white sugar and egg white. Pastila was and is my favourite confectionery and I had to learn how to make it at home. The recipe, with all variations and adjustments for my own needs, is based on an authentic factory recipe, easily available in numerous publications. As the process of making pastila can be quite labour intensive and time consuming, with techniques and textures not very common and familiar to general public, my intention was to publish the full proof recipe with all the minute details depicted in step by step photos of every stage of pastila making.

The recipe below is adapted for the size of the tray 30.5cm x 20cm x 3cm. Set pastila can be cut in different shapes and sizes. I now make my pastila in 2cm x 5cm pieces. Previously I made them 2cm x 7cm, or 3cm x 3cm as you can see in the photos above.

Ingredients:

  • 300g thick apple puree (I used 285g pure apple puree and 15g frozen cranberry puree)
  • 300g regular white sugar (includes 10g vanilla sugar, optional)
  • 23-25g egg white

for syrup separately

  • 200g sugar
  • 8g agar-agar
  • 80g water
  • 3-4 drops of lemon juice, makes it easier to dilute agar agar in water

separately

  • pure icing sugar for dusting

Preparation:

I used home grown organic Granny Smith apples, from 1.1 kg of apples I made two portions of 285g puree to be used for 2 portions of apple pastila with added cranberry puree.

puree preparation

  • apple puree can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for a week or frozen for later use
  • wash apples, dry them with paper towel
  • cut apples in half, take the core out
  • line deep baking tray with baking paper
  • place apple halves with a cut side down
  • bake at 170C in fan forced oven for 25-35 minutes until completely soft
  • spoon baked apples into a Pyrex glass bowl
  • blend into fine puree
  • cook apple puree in the microwave on HIGH for 7-10 minutes
  • blend again if necessary, or just stir
  • put apple puree through a sieve
  • cool puree to room temperature

agar agar syrup preparation

  • place agar agar into a non stick or stainless steel sauce pan with a spout
  • add water and 3-4 drops of lemon juice
  • stir, mix and set aside to absorb some water
  • cook on minimum heat until it dissolves in water, the solution will start looking a touch more transparent

  • add sugar, mix it in, continue cooking
  • the mixture will get translucent and become clear
  • it will start boiling with bubbles, stir the mixture constantly, cook for 3-4 minutes, take from the heat and stir to eliminate all gel like lumps
  • taken from the heat with no bubbles clear solution is ready to be used
  • I usually mix agar agar with water, let it stand, cook the syrup while all the beating of apple puree with sugar and egg white takes place

before boiling point

  • after cooking, ready to add to apple puree mixture

pastila preparation

  • in a bowl of the benchtop mixer add sugar to apple puree
  • mix them together
  • beat on high 5 minutes
  • add egg white (25g, not the whole egg white)
  • beat on high for 8-10 minutes
  • reduce speed for 2 positions
  • add hot agar agar syrup, try to pour it not touching the side of the bowl
  • do not do it too slow
  • scrape all thick syrup out of the sauce pan, add it to the bowl
  • return speed to maximum and beat for another 2-3 minutes

  • pour pastila into prepared lined tray
  • scrape all the walls, spread pastila to make the surface as flat as you can
  • let it set for 4-5 hours, until the surface is semi-dry to touch

  • dust the surface with icing sugar
  • spread icing sugar with a pastry brush to cover every corner
  • very gently rub icing sugar into the surface
  • brush the excess of icing sugar, let pastila rest for 10-15 minutes

  • use very thin knife to separate side walls of the tray from pastila layer
  • place oversize sheet of baking paper over the tray and a wire rack on top of the paper
  • turn the tray over to a wire rack, remove the tray
  • slide pastila with a sheet of baking paper under-nigh from a wire rack to a large chopping board/working surface
  • gently peel baking paper from pastila layer

  • leave pastila to rest for 20 minutes
  • repeat the process of dusting with icing sugar, rubbing it on the surface and brushing off the excess from the top and the sides

  • let pastila rest for 1-2 hours before cutting it into individual pieces

more photos for cutting plum pastila where cuts can be seen better

  • treat every side surface in each individual piece of pastila with icing sugar
  • dip each side into icing sugar, gently rub it in and brush any excess off
  • leave pastila pieces to dry on a wire rack overnight
  • pack them in boxes as they are or in individual paper wraps

I haven’t made apple pastila for many years. I was using mainly the mixture with plum puree and simply forgot how delicious plain apple pastila was. Apple pastila is an aromatic homemade confectionery with intense apple taste and soft, melting in your mouse, texture.

It is not an easy task to make pastila, but I sincerely encourage you to try it, may be in steps, first making apple puree and then pastila itself. If making individual pieces is too much of an effort for the first time, try to make it as a layer for a cake, just pouring some portion of pastila in a cake tin. I do it sometimes. Pastila layer can be kept for several days to be used later in a cake.

General principles for making pastila from fruit puree

  • fruit and/or berries puree had to be thick, simple blending would not be enough
  • egg white quantity had to be measured precisely
  • the same applies for agar agar quantity
  • the easiest way to make pastila is to use benchtop mixer, because you have to pour hot and very thick agar agar syrup while beating the mixture
  • when warm pastila is poured into a lined tray, it needs time to set, 4-5 hours as mininum, before being dusted with icing sugar to form the skin
  • the most labour intensive stage is to cut pastila into individual pieces, apply icing sugar to the each surface, gently rub it in, brush an excess with a brush and let form a thin crust

I can only add that all your efforts will pay off.

2 thoughts on “Apple Pastila – Fruit Puree Based Confectionery

    1. It is the first time that I used apple puree that it not prepared with the reduction in weight in half. Usually I took peeled and cored apples and reduced their weight by cooking them in microwave from 600g to 300g. In all other cases with more diluted and runny apple puree pastila wouldn’t set properly, would be very fragile and hard to work with. As I learned lately that using apples unpeeled with skin on enriched the capacity to set with stable texture, that makes the process so much easier. Not every one is prepared to fuss with scales to register weights at every stage of cooking. So, I am very happy. We also realised that may be pure apple pastila, not the most pretty one, being pale, but is still the tastiest. Clean apple taste, amazing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s