My gummy candy/nerds addictions sprung up early, like vicious eatable, Freudian weeds. Since my parents rarely allowed to have candy when I was little, I made sure that I took every opportunity to acquire it while I was in school. In grade school, we played a game called 'Around The World'. Basically someone went to every desk and they had to spell a word or do an equation faster than the student sitting down or else that student would take their place (don't laugh, I grew up in the 80's and the school only had one Plymouth rock-sized computer that had to be wheeled/pushed up and down the long, long, long hallway.) Whomever made it the longest around the classroom received a treat and that treat usually came in the form of an elegant, tasty gummy rat. Unfortunately my cat is probably better at math than I am so it didn't always have a sweet ending. But I owned spelling competitions. :D
I'm so glad I know how to make these now. They remind me of raspberry sugar plums. The soft texture soaks up the sugar-coating so you have this luscious light crunch mixed in with the tender fruit. If these had been the 'Around the World' reward, maybe I wouldn't still need to use my fingers to add.
Raspberry pâtes de fruits (recipe by Jacques Pépin)
Two 12-ounce bags frozen raspberries, thawed (4 cups) *do not drain the juice*
1 1/4 cups seedless raspberry jam
1 cup sugar, plus more for coating
3 envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin (3 tablespoons)
3/4 cup cold water
1.Lightly oil an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Line the dish with a piece of wax paper that extends 4 inches beyond the rim.
2.In a food processor, puree the thawed raspberries with the raspberry jam and the 1 cup of sugar. Strain the puree into a medium saucepan. Boil the puree over moderately high heat, stirring often, until reduced to 3 cups, about 10 minutes.
3.In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water in an even layer. Let stand until the gelatin softens, then heat the water in a microwave for 20 seconds, until the gelatin dissolves completely. Stir the melted gelatin into the raspberry puree, then pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
4.Just before serving, unmold the pâte de fruit onto a work surface. Peel off and discard the wax paper. Using a sharp knife, cut the pâte into 1-inch squares or triangles. *I used a small, round cookie cutter and slice the circles in half to form fruit 'slices.'*
Keep these well wrapped in the refrigerator. Roll them around in about 1/2 cup of sugar just before serving. The sugar sinks in fast so wait until the last minute before coating.