What Is a Pear Drop?
A pear drop is a traditional British hard-boiled sweet that is shaped like a pear and may have a pear flavoring. These sweets are instantly recognizable not just by their shape, but by their two-tone coloring; usually half of the pear drop is pink and the other half is yellow. Some pear drop sweets may also be wholly pink and wholly yellow; these may come in separate packets or mixed packets.
Formerly, artificial colors and flavors were used to give the pear drop its classic look and taste. These had the advantage of being more convenient to use and of assuring batch conformity. They also gave the sweets a longer shelf life.
Isoamyl acetate, an artificial flavoring chemical, was once used to give the pear drops their distinctive pear flavoring; this chemical is also used in the aeronautical industry in aircraft construction. As this chemical is not good for human consumption, the emphasis nowadays is on only using natural and healthier colors and flavors. It is now common for sweet manufacturers to use pear juice concentrates or the apple extract malic acid. This has, of course, rather altered the taste and the look of the pear fruit sweets.
The main ingredients used to make pear drop sweets are cane sugar, glucose syrup, pear drop flavor and color. The cane sugar and glucose syrup are dissolved in water and boiled on high heat, while constantly stirring, until the mix thickens. The thickened mix is then poured onto a flat surface and the pear flavoring is melded into it. The mix is then divided into three parts and each part is separately colored yellow or pink.
The mix is first stretched and pulled, and is a white color. Colors have to be added to get the yellow and the pink. The three colored parts are then placed side by side and processed into a rolling machine which cuts them into the classic pear shapes.
The newly formed pear drop sweets then pass into a spinning container where they are moisturized to make them sticky and then they either undergo crystallization or are coated all over with powdered sugar. The next step is to allow them to dry properly and then the pear sweets are ready to be packaged.
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