“Healthy Desert” Trends: Featuring Fruit
“Healthy desserts” are the trend in today’s baking industry, featuring low-fat, low-calorie, low-saturated fat, and high-fiber ingredients and toppings. Since fruit are naturally sweet, contain no fat, are rich in pectin (i.e. apples and citrus fruits), high in fiber and minerals (i.e. strawberries and raspberries), or have skins with insoluble fibers which help to digest food, fruit is increasingly featured in baking recipes. Baking with fruit is growing in popularity amongst professional bakers and fruit is taking center stage on desert tables all over the world.
Add Fruit to Your Recipes
Whether you choose fresh fruit, frozen fruit, dried fruit, or fruit purees and sauces, naturally sweet fruit can be incorporated into almost any baking recipe and even used as a sugar substitute. Fresh fruit slices, crushed or whole berries, and drizzled fruit sauce are used by the pros to decorate cakes and fruits are added to muffin and quick bread batters for flavor and texture. Fruitcakes feature dried fruits, nuts, and spices soaked in spirits, and are particularly popular at Christmastime and holidays. The next time you serve sponge cake, serve it with a dollop of fruit-flavored cream or with a medley of fresh fruit on the side; for a rich, taste-bud tingling taste, drizzle raspberry or strawberry sauce on top of black forest cake and German chocolate cake.
Baking with Berries
Frozen or fresh berries – blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries – are frequently used in fruit sauces, or you can mix berries right into your cake batters. Puree a blend of berries in your food processor and use to fill and layer cakes such as strawberry shortcake and cranberry cheesecake, or use fresh fruit slices in pineapple upside-down cake, apple cake, and more.
Learn which berries are in season over the course of the calendar year; incorporate fresh berries in your deserts recipes or freeze your favorite berries for year-round use. To select berries for baking, look for firm, plump, and fragrant berries with no white or green endings near the stem; discard any crushed, moldy, soft, or bruised berries, as well as berry containers with a wet or stained underside.
Fruit Sauces and Purees
What you may not know is that fruit sauces and fruit purees are among professional bakers’ favorite “secret weapons,” which rival any rich, creamy topping or fancy frosting or icing. Unlike fresh fruit, fruit purees and fruit sauces won’t spoil quickly and can be refrigerated for at least a week and frozen for months. A particularly creative use of berries is to make berry-flavored whipped cream, which can then be spread over a variety of cakes or used to fill or layer cakes.
To make a fruit puree, simply crush fresh or frozen fruit in your food processor, adding a little sugar and a few drops of lemon juice to bring out the flavor (optional). To make fruit sauce, you’ll need a few cups of fresh or frozen berries, some white sugar, cornstarch, salt, water, lemon juice, and some optional spices. Place all of ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until smooth (some berries will remain whole while most will dissolve). For a thinner sauce add more water, and taste to see if more sugar is needed. Cool, cover, and refrigerate or freeze. When it’s time for desert, simply drizzle or pour the fruit sauce over your favorite cakes and serve.
Favorite Fruit Cakes
The all-American apple cake takes the cake in this category! There are hundreds of apple cake varieties, including apple spice cake, apple nut cake, apple brandy cake, applesauce cake, harvest apple cake, apple muffins, apple cranberry cake, glazed apple cake delight, apple cake with cream cheese frosting, apple streusel cake, apple crisp, apple tart, and many more.
If you love the heavenly aroma of baked bananas, consider recipes for banana muffins, banana bread, banana cake, chocolate banana cake, chocolate chip banana cake, banana split cake, fried banana cake, banana cream cake, banana layered cake, banana frosting, almond fudge banana cake, banana-strawberry cake, and more.
You can find scores of desert recipes incorporating your favorite fruits on the Internet or in any cookbook or magazine.