Candies Desserts

grapefruit and campari pâte de fruit recipe

death, doritos, and italian cocktails: they are related ::::


“A [Doritos] chip addiction is more like a grief cycle than an addiction,” he said laughing.

I was pushing Sky-Girl on the swing next to a little girl with very chatty parents. Said parents discussed their grocery list, thereby springboarding into the above axiom with ease, with giggles in defeat, realizing their vice. (I hope it’s not Cool Ranch. I imagine their home would smell like chalk and body odor, if so.) I analyzed this statement, this comparison to the grief cycle, with the defined categories of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. This whisks me back to medical school and some of our first discussions on death and dying and my intern year when I witnessed it. First, each is technically a *stage* and all do not group into a cycle as not every one progresses through the emotions in order nor does one necessarily experience each stage and may experience others as well. Never once did I consider extrapolating this information to food. In light of the monopoly that Doritos has in the snack food microcosm, one could certainly be fully immersed in a fervid cycle of yes-more-no-yes, leaving salty crumbs in bottom of a greasy plastic bag. I kind of get it, but not really in this context. At age 12, I ate an entire bag of Cool Ranch Doritos at one sitting. And that was the last time I’ve had any craving for Doritos in general. As a CHILD.


Doritos became unimportant after that zenith of chip gluttony. I moved out of that so-called “cycle of [Dorito] grief,” and now retrospectively review my life cycles, a big one being my intern year of medical training. This post is about how I got through my intern year. It’s about listening to edgy trance music drinking Campari aperitifs. It is more about human death and dying and remembering the difficult conversations I had with some expired patients’ family members after I had to call time of death for each. There was the family I had met on another hospital admission for their mother, now with me calling time of death. There was the stable patient who told me that night while I was on call that he would die. And he did. There was the woman having a heart attack, and her daughter screaming at me to get the hell away from her. There was the imminent death of a man surrounded by family, we all watching his agonal breathing slow. And stop.

These experiences were during my intern year of residency, that smack of realism after the inglorious slog-through of medical school. I watched people get angry. I watched people cry. I watched people bleed. I watched people die.

To reduce a predilection to Doritos to a grief cycle is egregiously gauche, and trivializes the path to death: life. I doubt this park dad and his wife even broached this in their thinking, that jokey vibe attained, gaining smiles from each other. Hey, you might think, it’s just a joke, Lisa! Death never seems funny after working 90 hour weeks involving death in many shapes, teetering on its precipice or on a long, charmed jaunt to the end.

Some weeks were lighter than others during residency, thankfully, and I used every minute to try to relax (at least, before having children). Not an easy task for a person like me. My intern year, my go-to was the restaurant bacaro, many a cocktail sipped with dinner. This is where I first tried a Campari and Prosecco aperitif, and I still dream of it: the bitter, woodsy, citrusy scent and taste, like earth and blood, mixed with the peppy fizz of the Prosecco. I would drink aperitifs through dinner, long after aperitifs were considered appropriate. And I thought and worried about my patients long after I should have moved on.


I recently found my favorite Campari and Cynar, an artichoke-based elixir that is excellent with lemon, in a local liquor store (that cocktail post coming up later, when I figure out the best recipe). Campari has made a mainstream bow with its more popular friend the grapefruit, presenting not only in cocktails, but popsicles and granitas, and candies.

Today I give you Campari and grapefruit pâte de fruit. This recipe is a product of my obsessive search for the perfect pâté de fruit, stumbling on it, almost derailing my passion fruit trial. Since it is not socially acceptable or safe to drink Campari at work, while driving, or all day on the weekend while playing tea party with the kids, candy can sidle up and take the drink’s place. And it’s oh so pretty. I loved cutting the cylinders and teardrop shapes, then playing around with designs. Relaxing. Away from the best and worst years of my life. No joking.


One year ago: scallops with mexican corn salad (elote)

Two years ago: berry yogurt popsicles

Three years ago: ligurian pesto with spaghetti and chicken corn rivel soup with browned butter

Four years ago: peanut butter granola bars and oatmeal raisin ice cream


5.0 from 1 reviews
grapefruit and campari pâte de fruit recipe
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
I followed the measurements of the recipe exactly. I did not, however, make the candy as described as a a two-layered pâte de fruit. I poured each layer into separate pans to make separate candies. I did this because I did not have an adjustable pour frame and wanted to standardize it with a pan size most regular kitchens have handy. Some of the ingredients are not standard for "regular" kitchens, but easily ordered online or found at cake/candy decorating stores. Make sure to get glucose powder, NOT solid glucose.
  • 375 g grapefruit juice
  • 125 g lime juice
  • 50 g sucrose (1)
  • 14 g yellow pectin
  • 650 g sucrose (2)
  • 83 g glucose powder
  • 4 g citric acid
  • 225 g lemon juice
  • 150 g Campari
  • 50 g sucrose (1)
  • 10 g yellow pectin
  • 375 g sucrose (2)
  • 75 g glucose powder
  • 5 g citric acid
  • Special equipment: candy thermometer, parchment, silicone mats, pour frames or two 8x8 pans. See notes above for notes on ingredients.
  1. Before starting the cooking process, measure out ALL of the ingredients. Also, line your chosen pans with parchment or silicone, if needed.
  2. FOR THE GRAPEFRUIT PÂTE DE FRUIT: In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the grapefruit and lime juices to 40 degrees C/ 104 degrees F. This is fairly quick.
  3. Mix sucrose (1) and pectin together in a bowl, blending very well. Pectin powder will clump if you do not do this very important step, and the candy will be ruined. Slowly add the mixture into the heated juice, and whisk well. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously.
  4. Slowly add the remaining sucrose (2) and the glucose. Cook to 106 degrees C / 223 degrees F, stirring frequently and watching the thermometer carefully.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the citric acid.
  6. Quickly pour the warm mixture into a silicone- or parchment-lined frame, candy molds, or 8x8-inch pan and allow to set at room temperature, about 15 minutes. Set aside and prepare Campari pâte de fruit.
  8. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the lemon juice and Campari to 40 degrees C / 104 degrees F.
  9. Like the grapefruit pâté de fruit instructions, blend sucrose (1) and pectin well, then whisk into the warmed Campari and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously.
  10. Slowly add the remaining sucrose (2) and the glucose. Cook to 106 degrees C / 223 degrees F, still stirring.
  11. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the citric acid.
  12. Quickly pour the warm mixture into the second prepared pan. Allow to set at room temperature. I like to wait overnight, letting the pâté de fruit sit uncovered at room temperature before unmolding.
  13. Prepare a work surface with large cutting board, a sharp knife, and aspic cutters (if you want to cut shapes other than cubes). Coat cutting board with sanding sugar. Loosen pâté de fruit from edges of pan using a knife, then flip over on cutting board. Peel off parchment and cut into desired shapes. Dredge in sanding sugar and serve.
  14. Store at room temperature. I store without dredging in sugar first. If sugared and sitting overnight, there is a bit of the dreaded sugar weep of which I am not fond. These keep well for weeks at room temperature, but there will be some weepiness. Resugar before serving if needed.



  • Grant September 12, 2016 Reply

    Is it possible to get this recipe converted for an american to use? I tried doing the conversion myself, but the candy never set and stayed in a state similar to a soft jelly.

    Thank you.

    • story September 13, 2016 Reply

      Actually, I’m an American. I assume you tried a volume conversion. I find using weight (grams) and not volume (as we Americans often do) yields MUCH better products, especially when it comes to making candies. I have a $16 kitchen scale — that’s all I need for this recipe.

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