Lately, many chefs have asked me about Pectin, a thickening agent used in marmalade, jams, jellies, baked goods and dairy products. So, here’s a breakdown of all things Pectin :
Origin: Pectin is found in plants & fruits. Concentration of Pectin differs. Most important source is Apple pulp & citrus fruits.
Types: There are several options available e.g. Apple, citrus, yellow ribbon, NH, HM, LM etc. The behaviour, setting time and strength vary.
How to use Pectin:
- First, define your need. Do you need a quick set, slow set, irreversible (cannot be reversed once gel forms ), reversible (reusable; gel softens on the application of heat).
- Ask the supplier/manufacturer for recommended dosage. This may vary depending on the extraction & if buffers (anti-lumping agents) are used.
- In pastry and confectionary use, pectins are normally used with a high percent of sugar (50% or more) and an acid is generally added. These are high Ester pectins; they form a gel at a low pH. Hence, the acid is important. Usually a pH of 3.5 or lower is required to form a gel.
- I’d recommend when cooking/heating pectin, mix the pectin with sugar, dispense in the liquid & cook at medium heat, giving pectin time to activate, stirring constantly.
Other facts about Pectin:
- Low Ester pectins are available.
- In Europe, pectin is a food additive number: E440.
- Pectin is a pure vegetable/fruit replacement for gelatin. However, the gel texture of pectin is different than that of gelatin. Pectin is short in texture and is not as elastic.
I’m glad many of you reached out to me with your own questions. Here’s some answers to specific questions I’ve received in the past regarding Pectin:
- Proportions required to create Lychee gelee if you were to add Lychee Liqueur: — For 500 gm of puree (including alcohol), you should use about 20 gm of Pectin.
- Ratio for the amount of gelatin used to liquid for different products: — The amount of gelatin used would depend on the kind of gelatin you are using and the desired stiffness. As a rule, for fruit creams/mousses that need to be unmoulded, I use about 12 grams of gelatin (silver) to 1 kg of finished mousse. For a softer mousse, it varies, but you can reduce the gelatin by approximately 20%, depending on your puree and other components (cream, meringue etc.). For chocolate creams, I avoid using gelatin.
Always, make sure to read the specifications of the pectin before using it. During my travels, I do carry some pectin with me on my trips just incase….
Hope this information helps. Happy Baking…..