Inquiring Chef came up with four batches of different flavours: blueberry, raspberry, lemon, and mint. She tried kiwi but apparently it didn’t gel, so I left my kiwi purée in the freezer for the time being. I did whip out my frozen fruit from Costco and came up with six different flavours: blueberry, mixed berry (raspberry, blackberry, blueberry), strawberry, mango, and raspberry. I planned to turn whatever was left into a mélange and call that one “fruit salad”. I left those to defrost in the sun while I made The Un-Cola.
You only need 3 tablespoons of purée per flavour, but I wasn’t sure how much would be left over after I finished straining out the seeds and skins, so I kind of eyeballed it.
So, in a food processor, purée those fruits all up.
Strain them to remove the seeds and skins and whatever else is in there.
Push the stuff against the sides of the strainer with a spoon to get ’em to go. Some are easier than others.
Some are downright lurid.
Now we’re ready to go. Five flavours here.
And my “fruit salad” here.
The recipe below will give you two flavours. I obviously multiplied it by three to match my six flavours.
Grease or spray 2 5″x 6″ pans for the gelatinizing of them there gum drops. I used 8″ pie plates and cake tins, because that was what I had on hand.
So. Plop 3 tablespoons purée of one flavour into the bottom of one large heat-proof bowl, and then another 3 tablespoons of another flavour into another.
In a large pot, sprinkle 4 tablespoons unflavoured gelatin (sorry, this isn’t a vegetarian recipe) over 1 cup cold water. Leave that to soften for 5 minutes.
Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over the gelatin and stir to dissolve.
Pour in 4 cups sugar and bring that to a boil over medium heat. You will need to stir this constantly so it doesn’t boil over. And you will need to do this for 25 minutes straight. No, you can’t run to change the radio station or answer the phone. I managed to do this while talking on Skype with my parents, but they’re an indulgent sort and Skype is hands-free after all. They only stuck around for one batch of the stuff, though. I had to do that three times.
Pour half the boiling sugar-gelatin foam over the purée in one bowl and the rest into the other. Working quickly, stir to mix the purée completely into the sugar syrup.
Pour the mixtures into the sprayed pans.
Shove those suckers in the refrigerator overnight (or up to 2 days). See how nice and firm that is?
Pour about a cup of sugar onto a baking sheet. Then run a knife around the edges of the nice firm gelatin and gently release it from the pan.
This will take a bit of persuasion, and I found a metal spatula to be very handy here. Don’t worry about damaging the gelatin — it’s pretty resilient.
Place it in the sugar. When I’d done this I almost felt like I’d done some sort of organ transplant, and this was the one waiting for donation. It looks like a lung or something …
Then flip it to coat both sides — this will keep things from getting super sticky. You’ll get sticky enough as it is.
Put the gelatin on a cutting board and use a long knife to cut strips from it.
I then used scissors to cut the strips into 3/4″ cubes, or close enough approximates. You can use a knife for this if you want to get straighter lines, but seeing as I was making squares out of something that was originally a circle, I wasn’t that concerned. Plus as things get stickier, scissors are way easier.
Cut the strips into the sugar.
Then get in there with your hands and toss them to coat.
A just-tossed gum drop, up close and personal:
Transfer the finished gumdrops to parchment paper and leave, at room temperature, for 2 days to crystallize and get all good. This is my dining room table, completely covered in candy.
Then give them all away — or save a few for yourself! It always amazes me how simple candy always turns out to be — and that’s probably why it’s so good!
You can see more pictures of the gum drop adventure on my Flickr page.