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When reviewing vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, it is very common to see desserts prepared with agar-agar. Aside from pâte de fruits, I have never seen a dessert recipe call for pectin. In my own experience, I have found low-methoxy pectin (such as Pomona's Universal Pectin) to be far more versatile. It can gel quite stiffly if desired. I have found it to be preferable in every situation.

As such, I find myself perplexed as to why its use seems limited to jams and pâte de fruits. I can't find any evidence that regularly eating high concentrations of pectin is problematic; as a dietary fiber, the opposite seems true.

So the question is: why is agar-agar so much more prevalent in dessert recipes?

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  • Is agar maybe a bit easier to handle? At least there is not much difference in price for both. It also may be pure chance. Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 21:19

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Agar-agar is available in powdered or flake form and is relatively easy to work with. It dissolves easily in hot liquids and sets quickly as it cools, which makes it convenient for setting desserts without the need for extensive cooking or lengthy chilling times. Agar-agar can withstand higher temperatures compared to pectin. This property makes it suitable for desserts that require baking or cooking at high temperatures. Pectin, on the other hand, tends to break down and lose its gelling properties when exposed to prolonged heat. Agar-agar has a relatively neutral flavor, which allows the other ingredients in the dessert to shine through Pectin, on the other hand, can impart a slightly tart or citrusy taste, which may not be desirable in all dessert recipes. Agar-agar is derived from seaweed and is known for its gelatinous texture, similar to gelatin. It can create firm and stable gels, making it ideal for setting desserts, custards, and jellies.

Hope this Helps.

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