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Foodday

 

Dried Plums
Discover the Secret
of Really Great Taste

Recipes: : Ginger Cookies and Devil's Food Cake

 

Taste. Some people only relate to it intellectually. Others literally consume it with knife and forks. Either way, it's a grand preoccupation.

There's no accounting for taste, and styles come and go. Nonetheless, good taste is usually the first measuring stick we use to size things up. From food to ideas, good taste makes life worth savoring. It simmers in the kitchen, distinguishes literature and art, dictates fashion, and generally cultivates gracious living.

Fortunately, one ingredient of truly great taste is so sublimely simple and so available, it literally grown on trees. Yet it remains relatively unknown. The secret is the purée of dried plums (prunes)—a delectably flavorful, rich and nutritious addition to healthful baking and desserts.

There's no secret to the great taste you get by using dried plums as a fat replacement in baked goods. It's a natural, nutritionally superior ingredient with more benefits than you can shake a spatula at. For instance:

  • Because dried plum are high in fiber, and half that fiber is pectin, the creaming stage entraps air just as effectively as shortening for good texture. The pectins also entrap flavor components for gradual release.
  • Dried plums contain high levels (14%) of sorbitol, one of the best available humectants. Their ability to entrap moisture along with their natural fructose and glucose helps keep baked goods fresh and moist for an extended shelf life.
  • The unusually high concentration of malic acid in dried plum purée is also a natural preservative and flavor enhancer that works particularly well in low-fat foods. Because fat carries the flavor in most foods, reduced fat baked goods need a "replacement" to compensate. Malic acid has been shown to be an effective flavor carrier that works especially well in low-fat foods because it entraps and releases flavor slowly, which enhances and extends flavor.
  • The use of dried-plum purée as a fat substitute in baking improves nutritional quality, yields excellent results, yet does not increase cost. In many cases, eggs and sugars may also be eliminated or reduced, along with shortening or butter.
 

Ginger Cookies

Cookies

Yield: 96 cookies

Ingredients

  • dried plum purée—2-1/4 cups
  • egg whites—5 large
  • granulated sugar—2-1/4 lbs. (4-1/2 cups)
  • all-purpose flour—1 lb. 14 ozs (7-1/2 cups)
  • ground ginger—1-1/2 Tbsp.
  • ground allspice—1 Tbsp.
  • baking soda—1 Tbsp.
  • salt—1 tsp.
  • crystallized ginger, chopped—12 ounces (2 cups)
  • vegetable cooking spray

Preparation

In bowl of mixer equipped with a paddle beat together purée and egg whites until smooth.

Add sugar and continue beating until mixed. Reserve.

In another bowl sift together flour ginger allspice, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to reserved mixture and mix until just incorporated.

Fold in ginger.

Shape dough into 1-1/2 Tbsp. balls and place on sheet pans sprayed with vegetable cooking spray. with slightly moistened fingers flatten cookies. Bake 15-18 minutes in 375 degrees F. oven. Cool on rack. Keep cookies in dry cool place uncovered up to 1 day for best results. Or keep in air-tight container until ready to serve.

 

Devil's Food Cake

Devil's Food Cake

Yield: 1 full sheet pan

Ingredients

  • water—3 cups
  • dried plum purée—1-1/2 cups
  • egg whites—6
  • vanilla extract—1 Tbsp.
  • all-purpose flour—14 ozs. (3-1/2 cups)
  • cocoa powder—2-1/2 cups
  • baking powder—2 Tbsp.
  • baking soda, salt—1 tsp. ea.
  • granulated sugar—1-3/4 lbs. (3-1/2 cups)
  • vegetable cooking spray

Preparation

In a large bowl or mixer combine water, purée egg whites and vanilla; mix well.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir in sugar.

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well to create a batter. Spray 2 half or 1 full sheet pan(s) with cooking spray. Spread batter into prepared pan(s) and bake in a 350 degree F. oven 20-25 minutes or until pick inserted comes clean. Cool on rack and use as directed.

 

Provided by California Prune Board

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

 
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This page modified January 2007


 


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