As a pastry chef, I’ve made hundreds of cakes in every size, shape, and color, which means I’ve whipped up my fair share of buttercreams. Freeze-dried fruit is my secret weapon to the most fruit-flavored and brightly colored buttercreams. When blitzed in the food processor, the fruit transforms into a super-concentrated fine powder that’s an explosion of flavor when added to buttercream. It’s not just for buttercream though; freeze-dried fruit powders add an unbeatable depth of flavor and brightness to cake batters, cookie doughs, frostings, and glazes as well.
Using pulverized freeze-dried fruit in desserts gives me a plethora of natural hues—strawberries for pink, blueberries for blue, and mangoes for yellow. It also gives me the option to use seasonal fruits any time of the year, and unlike jams, jellies, fresh fruit, or fruit purées that add a ton of moisture, freeze-dried fruit packs a punch to any baked good, imparting both beautiful color and fruity flavor.
What Is Freeze-Dried Fruit?
Freeze-dried fruit is fruit that has undergone a process where nearly all of its moisture is removed, leaving only an airy, light, and crunchy version of the fruit with an intense, concentrated flavor. If unopened, freeze-dried fruit can last up to 30 years under ideal storage conditions, making it way more shelf-stable than any other fruit products.
While I haven’t found discernible differences between brands of freeze-dried fruit, when adding freeze-dried fruit to desserts, I find myself tending to gravitate towards fruits that will add the boldest color and flavor. I prefer fruits like strawberries, raspberries, or mangoes over ones like apples or pears.
How to Use Freeze-Dried Fruit
To add freeze-dried fruit to your desserts, simply throw it into the food processor and blitz until it becomes a powder. Don’t have a food processor? Feel free to use a blender, or opt for a mortar and pestle, although the texture may not be as fine.
When adding the pulverized freeze-dried fruit to buttercream, it’s best to add it at the end, once the buttercream has reached your desired consistency. Simply add a spoonful at a time, to taste and until you get the color you’re aiming for. It’s best to err on the side of less rather than more because over time, the freeze-dried fruit will dissolve in the buttercream and the flavor will intensify it sits. A little goes a long way!
Once the freeze-dried fruit has been added, give the bowl a scrape with a rubber spatula, and whip the buttercream for 30 seconds more to make sure that everything is fully incorporated.
How Long Does Buttercream Last?
Due to freeze-dried fruit’s extremely low moisture content and long shelf life, adding freeze-dried fruit to buttercream shouldn’t impact its shelf life. Most buttercreams last up to seven days in the refrigerator and up to three months in the freezer.
One note of caution: Moisture is the enemy of freeze-dried fruit, as it will immediately alter its dry, crispy texture, and cause the powder to clump up. Once opened, it’s best to use it immediately, but if you’re storing it for a later date, or storing the powder to use in the future, it’s best to keep it in an airtight jar and in a cool and dry place. Once you’ve made your freeze-dried fruit powder, it is good to use it within six months, depending on how moisture-free the environment is.