Reducing juice volume without use of any sophisticated equipment is a daunting task. Boiling and stirring it for several hours. Ensuring the sides and bottom are regularly scraped to prevent burning. Stirring is getting harder on muscles as the pulp and sugar concentration rises. The heat against skin makes you wanna leave it and take a long rest. Even harder for heavy concentrates, jellies, jams and fruit leathers.
When someone asked me to specifically use her homemade fruit jam as inclusion for chocolate bars. I asked her to remove more moisture, cook it longer than usual and make the texture similar to fruit leather. Chocolate hating moisture is a known fact. It must not interfere with the process.
The product arrived in its usual texture. Spreadable jam. I was screwed. I could still use it though as bonbon fillings. Something that explodes after biting its crunchy shell. However, the request was not bonbon. It was chocolate bar with visible dried fruit specs on back. I cannot just place it on bar while molding. It will flow out surely once the bar is placed sideward or up-side-down. You know when it comes to chocolate bars, putting “this side up” sign is ridiculous. Who will follow the ridiculous sign by the way? It will simply not work.
It need rework. If cooking it from scratch in a pan is tedious. I bet it is even more for rework. Imagine the hard work of mixing and taking care not to get it burnt.
What I did? I spread it thinly in a pan and heated in oven for almost three hours. The purpose was to remove moisture but prevent it from getting burnt. Spreading it thinly exposed wide surface area which aided drying without stirring. It would have been faster if I have forced convection oven and able to spread it even thinner.
Last thing, I suggest putting it on baking paper for easy removal.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.