What are the best recipes using tinned fruit?
There’s more to tinned fruit than a heavy dose of nostalgia: it’s cheap, available all year round, regardless of the season, and a friend to many bakes. Case in point: pears work a treat nestled in chocolate batter, as do apricots baked tatin-style on top of, or under, puff pastry. Or follow Jack Monroe’s lead in Tin Can Cook and embrace the good old fruit cocktail by tipping a tin into a classic cake batter.
Guardian baker Ravneet Gill is especially partial to tinned pineapple: “I love it, and you can use it in so many things.” It’s as at home in an upside-down cake as in a granita (made from the tin juices, sugar and lime juice), Gill adds. “Tinned pineapple also stands up well to being baked, so put it in a crumble or cobbler.” Or go for a cross between the two with a dump cake: Gill’s pineapple and peach version appeared here a few weeks ago, but essentially you combine the two fruits in a baking dish, top with a dry cake mix (flour, baking powder, caster sugar, cornflour, salt) and slices of butter, pop in the oven and bake until golden. Job done.
Tinned fruit isn’t just for sweets, though. Gill turns pineapple into a quick pickle: “Tip out the juice and drink it, add sugar and lime juice [or white-wine vinegar] to the fruit, mix, stir in some chopped chilli and set aside.” Gill uses it to top curries, but you could also, of course, put tinned fruit in a curry – aubergine and pineapple, say, or Monroe’s peach and chickpea number. For the latter, Monroe cooks chopped onion, garlic and curry powder in oil, then adds chopped tinned peaches and their juice, chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and a crumbled stock cube. Cook gently for half an hour, and add a little water if things get a bit thick.
Tinned cherries, meanwhile, are ripe for pickling. In Tin Can Magic, Jessica Elliott Dennison drains the fruit (she saves the juice for sodas), then mixes with red-wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Eat in salads, such as beetroot and walnut (“the tart sweetness contrasts so nicely with the earthiness of the beetroot”), or use to top chocolate mousse.
Meanwhile, Princes’ cherry pie filling is something of a staple round Gill’s house: “It’s so good, so reliable, and I use it all the time.” That might be in a black forest gateau, adding a dollop to puff pastry before deep-frying, or swirling through cake batters. Fresh cherries are expensive, so Gill suggests bulking them out with tinned for, say, a cherry pie. Bonus: less pitting equals less mess.
Tinned mango pulp, be it kesar or alphonso, is worth a mention, too. “It’s a really good ingredient and about £1 a tin,” says Gill, who adds it to cheesecakes, souffles and ice-creams. Alternatively, whizz up a mango lassi for breakfast: in the Dishoom cookbook, mango is blended with a banana, coconut milk, thick Greek yoghurt, oats, honey, cumin seeds, sea salt and ice cubes, until smooth. Drink through a straw to start your day sunny side up.