It’s Thanksgiving week! Probably one of my favorite weeks of the year. To kick it off and finally use the bag of cranberries I’d been saving in my freezer, I made these super easy pate de fruits, basically fruit jellies.

These aren’t anything like the canned stuff you’ll find in the supermarket – they’re vibrant, light, and full of that great tangy cranberry flavor. Cut these up into cute shapes and they’d make a great palate cleanser before dessert.

Cranberry Pate de Fruits

Delicious jellies with a beautiful glossy, fuchsia color

Cranberry Pate de Fruits (Cranberry Jellies)

  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 1 small lemon
  • 2 cups water (approximate, it should enough water to just cover the cranberries in a saucepan)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 tsp gelatin dissolved in 2/3 cup of cold water
  1. Line an 8×8 or 9×13 (the smaller size if you’re making big jellies, and the larger size pan if you’re making smaller ones)  with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Add cranberries to a pan and fill with enough water to just cover the cranberries. Cook over medium heat.
  3. Wash and dry the lemon and slice into thin slices with a knife or mandoline. Remove seeds and add lemon slices to the pan and cook with cranberries.
  4. Once cranberries start cooking down, they’ll start to pop. Continue cooking 5 to 10 minutes until all cranberries have popped and the mixture is thick and mushy.
  5. Pour cooked cranberries and lemon slices into blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture to remove any excess seeds or chunks.
  6. Return the strained mixture to the pan and cook with sugar and 1/4 cup water. Cook for 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the water has completely cooked down. It should have the consistency of gravy. Turn off heat and let cool.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk together gelatin and cold water. Set aside and let gelatin dissolve until it looks like applesauce. Once gelatin has dissolved and set, heat  until gelatin dissolves into liquid.
  8. Pour gelatin into cranberry mixture and stir until completely incorporated.
  9. Pour cranberry mixture into pan and cover with plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator overnight until the mixture has set.
  10. To cut into jellies, turn the set jelly out onto a sheet of wax paper. Cut with knife or small cookie cutter into desired shapes.
  11. Store in refrigerator.

Pate de fruits are another one of those things that seem more difficult to make than they really are – it’s probably because the name is French – but it’s really nothing more than a fruit sauce and a thickening agent. These cranberry ones are especially great because they’re a complete sensory experience – the smell of the tart cranberries and sour lemons, the vibrant color of the raw fruits and the vibrant pink hue of the set jelly, and the taste of pure cranberry with a hint of lemon.

These are made with gelatin instead of pectin, because I bought some Pomona’s Universal Pectin and then saw that there were two  packets inside instead of just one like I was expecting and a confusing instructions sheet with a lot of fractions, so I bailed and went back to my BFF, gelatin.

Traditional pate de fruits are rolled in granulated sugar, but I love the natural tang that cranberries have, so I left them bare. If you do roll them in sugar, be aware that the sugar will dissolve pretty quickly, so only add the sugar if you plan on eating them the same day.

Cranberries and Lemon Slices

Aromatherapy on the cheap, and pretty as a picture to boot!

Cooked Cranberries

This is around the halfway mark – by the time they’re done cooking, the lemon peels should be completely pink and there shouldn’t be much excess water left

Cranberry Jelly

Did you know you can lift fingerprints with jelly?

Cranberry Pate de Fruits

Place them on wax paper for a couple hours and you’ll get a nice surprise when you peel them off