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Rehydrating dried fruits


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#1 prasantrin

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 01:04 AM

Forgive me if this has been asked before, but...

What liquids are usually used for rehydrating dried fruits to be used for baking? I'm looking for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. For example:

Raisins--rum is the obvious alcholic option, but what juice or other liquid can be used for those who cannot tolerate alchohol? Grape juice?

Cranberries--I tend to use orange juice, but are there any other liquids that go well with cranberries? What kind of alcohol could one use? Gin?

Prunes--I've used rum, and it was fine. But there must be something better out there...more interesting, anyway.

Figs?

Blueberries?

cherries?

Apricots?

Have I missed any? Those are the fruits I use most often in baking, but if there are any other interesting dried fruit/liquid options out there, I'd love to hear about them!

#2 SuzySushi

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 02:31 AM

Forgive me if this has been asked before, but...

What liquids are usually used for rehydrating dried fruits to be used for baking?  I'm looking for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.  For example:

Raisins--rum is the obvious alcholic option, but what juice or other liquid can be used for those who cannot tolerate alchohol?  Grape juice?

Cranberries--I tend to use orange juice, but are there any other liquids that go well with cranberries?  What kind of alcohol could one use?  Gin?

Prunes--I've used rum, and it was fine.  But there must be something better out there...more interesting, anyway. 

Figs?

Blueberries?

cherries?

Apricots?

Have I missed any?  Those are the fruits I use most often in baking, but if there are any other interesting dried fruit/liquid options out there, I'd love to hear about them!

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Other non-alcoholic liquids include apple juice (my usual sub. for alcohol in recipes calling for wine, sake, or sherry). I'd use that or white grape juice for rehydrating the raisins, and apple juice or cranberry juice for the cranberries.

Brandy is always nice with prunes. I'd use that with the blueberries, cherries, and apricots, too. Or you could use a fruit brandy or eau de vie of the same flavor as the fruit.

Figs... I'll have to think about. I don't usually use them in cooking/baking. Rum tastes best to my mind's palate, but maybe someone else has more ideas.
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#3 anzu

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 02:38 AM

My mother - who avoids alcohol in all forms and always has - always uses brewed tea to rehydrate any fruits to be used for baking. I believe a lot of other people do too as all the community-type cook books she has aquired over the years also suggest rehydrating with tea.

#4 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 06:15 AM

Simple syrup and or plain h2o.

#5 JayBassin

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 06:16 AM

I prefer any of the "eau de vie" brandies---kirsch, calvados, cognac---or white wine. Apple juice is great for nonalcoholic; orange juice is too sweet, in my opinion, so it should be diluted 50/50 with water or white grape juice. I use moderately sweet or spicy white wines for raisins, dried apples, maybe even figs.
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#6 Mallet

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 06:54 AM

Depending on the recipe, red wine can do quite well with figs.
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#7 Wolfert

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 07:04 AM

A cook I know once told me there is a wine for every fruit to bring out its flavor: Riesling for nectarines; Sauternes for prunes, and red wine for red berries, pears, and black fresh figs.
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#8 chefzadi

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 07:16 AM

There are fruit flavors in wines. Red wines tend to have darker fruit flavors or very ripe fruit or 'cooked fruit flavors or berry flavors. White wines tend to have pear, peach (or nectarine), mineral flavors, etc... I'm speaking VERY broadly here. But thinking along those lines with your beginning pairings should help.
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#9 Jon Tseng

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 07:16 AM

pudding wine is good... spare tokaji etc

not as harsch as rum

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#10 aidensnd

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 12:09 PM

I think it should depend on what you are goign to be using the rehydrated fruit in. Raisins rehydrated in rum are going to taste much more like rum than raisins, etc... So if you want the taste of the fruit I would use plain water or at the most a 50/50 blend of water and alcohol. If you're not too concernced about the 'fruitiness' coming through then go for all alcohol. Personally I like watered down Grand Marnier, rum, kirsch, calvados for my fruits.

#11 little ms foodie

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 12:19 PM

I use port for dried figs

#12 Abra

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 01:53 PM

Constant Comment tea is a nice non-alcoholic rehydrator for fruits.

And Armagnac is dynamite with prunes - in fact, soaking prunes in Armagnac is the way to get the best-tasting dessert armagnac you ever imagined.

#13 plattetude

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 02:30 PM

Baked some currant scones this weekend, and I soaked the currants in maraschino liqueur (Luxardo). FABULOUS. Just enough of the telltale funkiness of the liqueur that really added a fascinating undertone to the currants' flavor.

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#14 sugarbuzz

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 05:34 PM

I usually use a simple syrup. And depending on what fruit it is I'll add an appropriate flavoring or alcohol. For example..grappa for raisins,simple syrup & cabernet for dried cherries, riesling for lighter fruits such as peaches,nectarines..etc. If I'm using dried fruits for muffins or bread I'll make a spiced simple syrup..cloves,cinnamon sticks,ginger. Like I said ..it depends on the fruit. I f I know I won't use the poaching liquid again I'll reduce it & use it as a sauce.

#15 etalanian

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 06:56 PM

There are some great responses here. I agree with all of them. Port is wonderful with figs, sake with dried cherries and cranberries, Reisling for stone fruits, etc, but it's important that you keep in mind what the other flavors in the recipe are so everything is balanced.

Also, you can temper the strength of any of these alcoholic beverages with simple syrup, so the rum, for instance, doesn't overpower everything else in the dish.

Tea, coffee, wonderfully flavored vinegars, stock...all of these can be used depending on what you are making and whether it is sweet or savory.
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#16 kitwilliams

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 07:07 PM

I'm of a mind with the TEA people. Bara Brith (Welsh for "speckled bread") is a wonderful fruit bread (there are both non- and yeasted varieties and it is similar to all the English fruit breads as well as the Irish Barm Brack) and I have a hard time keeping myself from drinking the sweet, cold, fruity tea after soaking dried tart cherries, currants, apricots and raisins overnight. It is, after all, needed as the liquid in the bread.

Edited by kitwilliams, 07 July 2005 - 07:14 PM.

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#17 andiesenji

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 12:31 PM

I learned a long, long time ago that steaming dried fruit, either whole or chopped, softens the fruit without adding more liquid that can throw off the balance in a baked product. Many very old recipes for fruited cakes indicate the fruit is to be placed in a cloth OVER simmering water, not in the water.
You may add a flavoring to the simmering water if you wish and this way the fruit will not be overwhelmingly flavored with something else.
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#18 Jessica Parsons

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 02:50 PM

Ooh, I really like the tea idea, especially with fruit herb teas. Celestial Seasonings makes delicious fruit teas that I think I'll try for this very thing this weekend. I don't think they'll really provide the contrast of flavor that a regular tea would--these teas are very fruity, with none of the spiced, semi-bitter characteristics you normally associate with tea--but they are not really sweet, and have a nice dry quality to them, which I think will add flavor to the fruit without being over-poweringly sweet. I think they'd be great with apricots, cranberries, or what I'm going to try--dried strawberries.

#19 prasantrin

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 03:15 PM

Wow! Who would've thought there were so many possibilities? Well...I guess y'all did, but I sure didn't!

Now I'm going to have to experiment with all the different combinations--wines, brandies, etc. What a great excuse to buy more alcohol :biggrin: . Thanks for all the help!