Kitchen 101: Roasting Fruit Right

April 5, 2014

Earlier this week, I shared a recipe with you all for Two-Bite Pies filled with roasted strawberries + rhubarb. This is just one of the ways that I use roasted fruits in our kitchen, (these muffins, with a boozier version of roasted berries are another example,) and I thought I’d share a few tips on how/what/when/why to use this method to get more, delicious fruits into yours as well. 

Roasted Strawberry + Rhubarb Compote

 

Why Roast Fruit

Roasting fruit concentrates the fruit’s natural sugars and therefore create deeper flavors and versatile results. You can smash roasted fruits into a sauce, top with ice cream or yogurt, toss into salads, use in baked goods, the list goes on!

What fruits should be roasted?

Anything in season! I roast fruit year-round; apples, persimmons, figs and pears in the fall, bananas, berries, apricots, peaches, plums and grapes in the spring and summer. This is a quick way to boost the flavors in your fruit, and also an easy way to use the fruit in unexpected ways. 

How Should the Fruit Be Roasted? 

In your oven! Make sure that the temperature is always at least 375 degrees…typically, I like to crank the heat up to 425F degrees and, because I love a good caramelized piece of fruit, I like to set the fruits beneath a hot broiler in the last minutes of cooking. 

Selecting + Preparing Fruit for Roasting: 

Always pick fruits that are ripe, but still firm, for roasting. Using fruit that’s too soft will frequently result in steaming, which will minimize browning and caramelization. 

To prepare the fruit to roast, toss with a bit of olive or nut oil, citrus juice or a little wine or spirits. This really can be anything you can think of, anything you have on hand. Lemon juice, orange juice, a favorite wine — all would be of great use here. (Use your imagination to whip up something interesting, fun, and delicious.) This ensures that the fruit creates a bit of sauce while roasting. If you really want to encourage caramelization, you can dust the sides of the fruit with sugar – this creates extra crispy edges. You can also think about incorporating spices into the sugar before dusting, just for something unique and different. If crispy edges don’t float your boat, you could also opt for maple syrup, honey, or any other favorite sugar. And, remember, that you really won’t need much; just a tablespoon or two will do you right.

To roast, spread the prepared fruit in a single layer on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. The single layer of fruit ensures even roasting and prevents steaming. 

Roast the fruit for 20-40 minutes, depending on the size, texture and type of fruit. You’ll know the fruit is done roasting when its tender throughout. Typically, if a knife easily pierces the fruit, the fruit is ready for eating. 

If you’re roasting….

Whole Fruit  – you can roast these heartier fruits whole, seeds and all. This includes grapes, figs, apples or pears. If you’re using larger fruits (say, apples and pears) you should core them before roasting and serving whole or diced. 

Chopped Fruit – make sure that all of the fruit pieces are roughly the same size, to ensure that they’re cooked eveniy. Fruit that has been cubed prior to roasting will have a more uniformly browned exterior. 

How to Eat + Enjoy Roasted Fruits: 

I use roasted fruits for a myriad of purposes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Stuff whole pears and apples with nuts, seeds, dried fruits and a bit of sugar and eat them for dessert on their own, or with a little bit of ice cream on top.
  • Roast up figs to serve with crackers and cheese, or try roasted figs in lieu of fresh for this little Italian treat.
  • Mash up fruits to make a spread of sorts, without all the sugar or making jam or jelly.
  • Stir roasted berries into muffin mix, or your favorite quick bread. 
  • Roast the bananas in your banana bread to give the flavor more depth.
  • Roast up berries or stone fruits to serve as a fruit shortcake with these little biscuits, or atop these hearty waffles
  • Stir roasted fruits into salads to give a little extra flavor, color and a bit of intrigue. Roasted blueberries with arugula? Yes please.

Got a few more ideas for how to use roasted versions of spring + summer’s bumper crop of delicious fruits? I’d love to hear them! And, in the meantime, happy roasting! – xo L

 

 

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