About Fresh Fruit Fillings

Most of the time a simple jam filling is enough for us pastry people. Jams are great between cake layers, in coffee cakes or in Danishes. But sometimes jams just don’t cut it. Jams are thick, they’re also sweet —depending on the application, they can be far too much so — and have only small pieces of fruit, which can be, quite frankly, disappointing. Should they be a little loose or soupy, as many homemade jams are, they can also weep into whatever you’re spreading them on.

The solution? Fresh fruit fillings. Admittedly these can also be tricky. As with jams, when they’re homemade (as all great fillings should be) they can weep a little. However the upsides are worth the tradeoffs in my mind. A made-from-scratch filling allows the home baker to tailor sugar levels and flavorings to the application instead of buying them pre-formulated in a jar. Consistency (or soupiness) can also be controlled with a judicious use of a thickener or gelling agent. The rewards are far brighter fruit flavors, more flexibility, and, of course, bragging rights. So let’s get to it, I say.

5 thoughts on “About Fresh Fruit Fillings”

  1. Mr. Pastry, I could not agree more with your sentiment.
    producing my own fillings, and embracing clear-gel and homemade pectin (apple, corn cob, etc.) jelly as a jump starter was an absolute game changer in my home cakes and pastry work.
    The brightness and nuances in flavor that come through in small batch homespun fruit fillings and jams and such just can not be overstated even in the most basic and simple fillings.

    1. Malachi, you and I need to sit down over a pint and talk baking. We’re clearly cut from the same mold. Thanks for the comment!

      – Joe

      1. I would relish the chance post lock down…… well that and maybe a bit of your states famous Que.

  2. I was in high school when a French-Vietnamese bakery opened in my smallish home town. Before that time I had never experienced a light vanilla cake filled with raw, sweet summer strawberries (truly fine examples of same are regular features of Pacific Northwest summers) held in place by clouds of whipped cream. It was a revelation.

    Those cakes didn’t keep at all, but we never seemed to find that a problem – they were devoured almost instantly.

    I think not quite where you were going with your comment, but it’s what sprang to mind when reading.

    1. And what I delightful image it is too. I’m ready for one of those. Thanks, essbee!

      – Joe

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