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Fruit Puree Fat Replacement

Food Fitness to Nourish Your Body

There are commercial fruit puree-fat replacement products on the market. Smuckers and Sunkist each make them. In the case of Sunkist, the product includes a mix of pureed plum and apple as well as pectin (a natural thickener), dextrose (a natural sweetener), and maltodextrin (a complex carbohydrate made from corn starch and used as a fat replacer).

Fruit Purees

Basically, it is a jam, but augmented to help produce certain results. In the case of these products, the instructions specify adding half as much puree as the amount of fat called for (so 1/2 cup of puree instead of 1 cup of oil). You might want to use that as a guide.

Making Your Own Fruit Puree

The secret to fruit puree fat replacement -- the ingredient that makes low-fat cakes and cookies extra-rich and tender -- is lecithin. Lecithin is a naturally occurring substance found in corn, soybeans and egg yolks. Used as a commercial emulsifier and texture enhancer, it is a tremendous aid in creating healthful homemade baked goods.

You may find granulated lecithin in health-food stores; keep it in the refrigerator.

Per cup, homemade fruit puree fat replacement costs about 60 cents to 1 dollar compared to $1.75 to $3.50 or more for the commercial product.

Using Fruit Puree

Fat plays a role in determining the shape and texture of a finished cookie - butter in cookies causes them to spread, producing crispness; cookies with vegetable shortening do not spread, and are more cake-like. You won't be able to produce a crisp cookie with a fruit puree. Why not use a half a cup of applesauce and 2 tablespoons of oil in your cookie recipe and see how it turns out? That's almost 1,600 calories fewer than the recipe started with.

Fat has a lot to do with carrying the flavor and nutrients in baking, so you should not do away with it entirely, or you'll just lose a lot of the flavor.

You might have more success (and be more satisfied) with cakes and muffins made with fruit purees, than cookies.

Fruit Puree Fat Replacement Recipe

2 each pears, medium, ripe but firm, well washed
2 each whole apples, well washed
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy lecithin granules

Cut fruit into eighths (do not core); place in a heavy medium saucepan. Add water, lemon juice and lecithin and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer, stirring and mashing fruit occasionally, until mushy, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Press through a fine sieve (or food mill fitted with a fine grate) into a bowl. (It will have an applesauce-like texture.) Let cool completely. (The fruit puree will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.)

Number of Servings: 28

Nutrition information per serving:
Calories: 16
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Protein: 0 g
Sodium: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 3 g
Total Fat: 0 g

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