Around the World in 80 Plates: Blackberry Pastilles, France 5/80

Pastilles, wine gums, pâte de fruit, gumdrops. So many different names, one delicious candy.

These blackberry pastilles take some time and attention, but compared to most other pastille recipes, they use relatively common ingredients.

You probably don’t need to do any digging around in your local shop to find anything. The same can’t be said for recipes that require ingredients like pectin, glucose or gelatin (the last of which sadly takes most jelly sweets off the cards for vegetarians).

All you need for this simple recipe is fruit, more fruit, fruit juice, sugar and water. Easy peasy.

I’ve used blackberries to satisfy a craving I’ve got, but you can use any soft fruit. There’s a lot of sugar, but the result will still be tangy if you use blackberries.

The ingredients are simple. No faffing around with gelatin or liquid pectin, just berries, a lemon, apples, sugar and water.

Ingredients (plus sugar and water)

Ingredients (plus sugar and water)

Put the whole berries, chopped apples, juice from half the lemon and water together in a pan. The apples will turn purple from the berries and the blackberries oddly will turn more red as they’re cooked.

After the berries and apples are soft, put the fruit in a sieve over a bowl and squeeze out the juice.

The fruit juice is what you want but the leftover mush you can save for toppings – it’s good on yoghurt (stay tuned for my homemade Greek yoghurt recipe), ice cream and as the fruit topping in Tarte Tatin (recipe coming soon).

You should get around 400ml of juice. Don’t worry if it’s more or less, just get as much as you can.

Put the juice back in the pan and add the sugar. Slowly simmer, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn, until it’s so thick you can see the bottom of the pan.

Pour the thickened juice into a tray lined with greaseproof paper and let it sit until it’s completely cooled. I leave mine overnight just to be sure it’s ready.

Blackberry goop left to dry overnight

Blackberry goop left to dry overnight

Roll the cooled and tacky mixture in sugar (this will prevent sticking) and cut into strips. Roll newly revealed surfaces in sugar and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Continue will all the pieces, cover loosely and leave to dry overnight to harden a bit more.

As a vegetarian, these are amazing. Most jelly candies found in the shops use gelatin so it’s hard to find something chewy when that’s what your sweet tooth craves.

This will probably be softer and squishier than store-bought gummies, but for me, it does the trick. Granted, you’ll have to be patient as this isn’t an instant fix (they take a while to cool down and dry out) but once you have these…. you’re very welcome.

Blackberry Pastilles

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Wait time: 1-2 days
Makes: about 6 dozen small pieces
Blackberry pastilles

Blackberry pastilles


500g blackberries
2 medium apples, peeled and diced
juice of ½ a lemon
150ml water
250g granulated sugar plus extra for dusting


  1. Put the blackberries, apples, lemon juice and water in a saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Cover and simmer until fruit is tender
  4. Sieve the fruit mixture over a bowl, pressing the fruit with a wooden spoon to get the juice out (I got just over 400ml of juice)
  5. Return the juice to the pan
  6. Add the sugar
  7. Let the sugar dissolve
  8. Bring to an easy simmer, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn
  9. Carry on until the mixture is quite thick
  10. Pour into a pan lined with a piece of greaseproof paper
  11. Let cool completely
  12. Sprinkle with sugar, turn out on to cutting board and sprinkle with more sugar
  13. Cut into bite-sized pieces and toss with more sugar
  14. Optionally, cover loosely and it let dry out before storing if you want a slightly firmer sweet

This recipe was taken from the Guardian.

Note that this recipe uses UK measurements, temperatures and ingredients. It can certainly be made outside the UK but ingredients may differ slightly, go by different names or need to be substituted altogether.

If you change this recipe to make it work outside the UK or if you have your own, please share in the comments!

Check out more recipes in my Around the World in 80 Plates series.

Fancy more posts about France? Look no further.

Inspired to cook some international dishes? I’ve got your recipe needs covered.

Feeling hungry? Don’t look at these posts.

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