Frozen fruit is always in season at your local grocery store, so you don't have to wait until the farmers market starts again to enjoy delicious baked fruit desserts. Peach pie, blueberry muffins, raspberry scones... all of these delicious baked goods can be just as delectable when using frozen fruit, too.
Before you stock up and start baking, you'll need to keep in mind frozen fruit need to be handled differently than fresh fruit to yield the same recipe results. Therefore, I've compiled a list of the 5 most important things that you should do to ensure a delicious fruity treat at any time of the year, regardless of when your favorite fruit is in season!
It's tempting to put all your ingredients on the counter before you start baking for easy access, but this is a big no-no. Keep frozen fruit in the freezer until you are ready to work with them. Thawed fruit will add excess liquid to your ingredients, and this makes pies and desserts runny right from the start.
Frozen fruit is weighed down with excess water and sinks toward the bottom of muffins and bread. To avoid this issue, gently toss frozen blueberries or whatever fruit you choose to use in a small amount of flour. The flour absorbs some of the liquid and will help distribute the fruit evenly. I'm using blueberries in my example, but this fantastic trick will work well with any frozen fruit—and can even help keep both nuts and chocolate chips evenly distributed.
A lot of recipes call for fresh or frozen fruit but they don't provide adjusted bake times—don't fall into that trap. It's common sense that a strawberry rhubarb pie made with frozen berries and rhubarb versus fresh fruit should bake longer, because frozen fruit brings down the core temperature of the pie filling. Extend your baking time by 5 minutes or more to achieve the same results as a fresh fruit pie.
Thickening agents such as cornstarch, tapioca, arrowroot, and flour are used in most fruit pies. If your recipe calls for a thickening agent, add more than required (unless the recipe is specifically for frozen berries).
I must confess that I was brought up baking with tapioca because my mother preferred it. Tapioca doesn't get gummy and gives your filling a nice glossy shine. Cornstarch tends to be the most commonly recommended ingredient, but the others I mentioned above are just as effective.
A pretty lattice crust or cutout design allows some of the liquid from your pie to evaporate during bake time. A double crust pie will hold in more juice as it only has the vents you've cut into its top crust to evaporate any excess liquid.
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Keep these super-simple tips in mind the next time you work with frozen fruit to bake the perfect dessert. Mastering baking with frozen fruits and berries means never having to wait on seasons to come before enjoying delicious pies, cakes, and more!
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