Learn How to Incorporate Freeze Dried Fruit Into Your Baked Goods
Banana bread and raisin oatmeal cookies are perhaps the most common baked goods in our repertoire that, respectively, feature fresh fruit and dried fruit. We reach for these fruits, and others like them, often when coming up with ideas for desserts or preparing them – think strawberry shortcake, upside-down pineapple cake, fruitcake, etc.
But what about freeze-dried fruit? These fruits are fairly new on the scene and are mostly marketed and packaged as snack foods, but why not incorporate them into desserts? Like naturally dried fruit, nothing is added and what you are left with is a delicious, concentrated version of the fresh fruit, often with the color brilliantly preserved, as with the case of raspberries as seen above.
Freeze dried fruit can be pricey, and it is usually found in well-stocked natural food stores or on-line (not an everyday grocery store) but they can enhance your sweets in ways that other fruit cannot.
First of all, freeze-dried fruit has such concentrated color and flavor that it is uniquely positioned to add those qualities to granola, as an add-in for cookies or cakes or used as decoration on a cake or candy. The process also preserves nutrition benefits. In fact during the freeze-dried process water is removed naturally, no chemicals are involved, and nothing artificial is added. What you are left with is a very pure fruit product.
One of my favorite ways is to use freeze-dried raspberries as a crumbled topping for chocolate-raspberry truffles. The color instantly signals “raspberry”, the flavor enhances the chocolate/raspberry truffle center and the texture even offers a little crunch and contrast. These organic raspberries, above image lower right, are from Nature’s All Foods and come in a zip top package. Strawberries are shown top left.
Some companies are freeze-drying more exotic fruit, such as the Lychee from GoVida, seen above. I love lychee as a fruit and as a flavor but don’t come across them that often in fresh form. These freeze dried lychee come in a .6-ounce package that is equivalent to 1 cup of fresh fruit (great for snacking on the go) and even have a fortune inside as a nod to their Chinese heritage. The purple fruit in the top image are GoVida Dried Apples with Maqui Berry, a very potent antioxidant. The color and flavor are unique.
Try freeze-dried blueberries in muffins if fresh aren’t available, or how about freeze-dried apples as a flavor booster for an apple cake? Using them in conjunction with the same fresh or dried fruit is a way to add levels and dimensions of flavor that are not attainable otherwise.