Q: I have a recipe for fig paste which calls for 500 g jam setting sugar to be used with 12 just-ripe figs, pureed. Just what is jam setting sugar and what might make an acceptable substitute?
A: Ever heard the old joke that America and England are two countries separated by a common language? Jam-setting sugar is Englands version of Americas powdered pectin. The difference is that jam-setting sugar is a mixture of pectin and sugar.
So how would you translate your recipe without that product? Its hard to give exact measurements because different types of figs vary widely in size. But 500 grams of sugar is roughly 2 1/2 cups, and that would be about the amount of sugar needed for 1 to 2 pounds of figs and a package of powdered pectin, such as Sure-Gel.
You don't necessarily need pectin to make figs set, since the fruit may have enough. But fig paste is a very thick version of fig preserves, a thick, chunky fig mixture. The texture would be similar to the filling in a Fig Newton. Adding pectin would help you get a thick consistency.
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