Ask Chef Ask Chef Question: How do I use a puree? A concentrate? Answer: Ask Chef Meet Chef John Antinore Meet Chef Dave Martin Send Us Pastry, Savory and Beverage Questions! To reach Chef John, email your pastry questions to AskChefJohn@perfectpuree.com To reach Chef Dave, email your savory and beverage questions to AskChefDave@perfectpuree.com Questions and Answers You asked, and chef answered. Chef John Antinore and Dave Martin are hard at work answering your inquiries. Here’s what some of you had to ask: After taking the puree out of the freezer, how long will it keep in the refrigerator? – C. Gershman Once thawed, the puree has a 7-10 day refrigerated shelf life. Will (The Perfect Purée) be making a watermelon puree? I boiled some down once and it tasted horrible. I was going to make a syrup with it and it was a big mistake. – Diane There aren’t any plans currently to produce a watermelon puree. In general, I would not recommend adding heat to any type of melon puree. Is the product sold in Wegmans stores? – P. Page I am sorry. At this time, The Perfect Purée products are not sold in our Wegman’s stores. The products are available for purchase on The Perfect Purée website. Can the average household find glucose powder? – Kevin Glucose powder can be found in some specialty food shops. It is a very important to use glucose powder in sorbet recipes when the fruit base that you are using has a very similar viscosity as water. the addition of the dry solids helps achieve a much creamier texture. How do I thicken sauces/purees? Chef Dave: There are a couple of ways that I prefer to thicken sauces and purees. One is to reduce over a low heat allowing the puree/sauce to thicken naturally via heat and another way is by adding sugar to the product in a sweetened application that will thicken as you cook it on the stove top. I am not really a fan of cornstarch and other thickening agents but they can be used in small amounts in order to achieve a thicker sauce/puree. To do this, take about a teaspoon of cornstarch or arrowroot and mix with a tablespoon of water with a whisk and then add to your puree/sauce and cook over low heat in order to cook off any taste of the starch or arrowroot. What Perfect Purée flavors would you recommend for the holidays? Chef Dave: Several of you have asked about some of the flavors to use for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I thought I would answer the questions together. Some of the flavors that make most sense for holiday cooking and baking are definitely Pomegranate, Cherry, Pear, and Red Raspberry. Someone was wondering what sauce/puree would really jazz up a stuffing recipe and I think that using the Pomegranate or Cherry flavors would make most sense in a stuffing since I actually use dried cherries and cranberries in my Cornbread Stuffing. Both of these flavors will work nicely with stuffings that have sausage, other meats, mushrooms and nuts. I love stuffing with all kinds of textures and flavors and of course one of the key ingredients in any of my stuffings is poultry seasoning which has the flavors of the season like Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Nutmeg and Black Pepper. By drizzling puree over the stuffing, you can add another layer of flavor to your own holiday classic. I think even a splash of Pear would be fun to experiment with as well. For all of your sweet treats and chocolate desserts, a nice coulis or sauce made using the Red Mixed Berry or Red Raspberry is always a hit with the crowd. I love your Prickly Pear Margarita. Do you have other cocktail recipes? Chef Dave: I’m so glad you love the Prickly Pear Margarita, it’s one of my favorite Margaritas and the Prickly Pear not only adds great flavor but the color is equally enticing to everyone. I do have several other cocktail recipes in my cookbook, Flavor Quest, Volume 2 which you can purchase online http://www.chefdavemartin.com but I will be creating some other special recipes for Perfect Purée throughout the year for all of you folks that love a great cocktail. Can puree be used for baby food? Chef Dave: That is a very common question we receive. One of the most important things to realize is that The Perfect Purée does use cane sugar in some of the products and they do not recommend these flavors be used as baby food or in baby food until your child is over the age of 12 months/1 year. Once you have made it past this age threshold you can definitely use our flavors to enhance items like homemade applesauce with a touch of Blueberry, Pear or Red Raspberry purees. The flavor combinations are endless depending on what flavors and fruits you want to introduce to your little one. As always, parents should consult with their pediatricians in regards to dietary guidelines for children. Can you recommend flavor pairings for my holiday menu? Chef Dave: When asked about the pairing of flavors for savory dishes for the holidays, I thought I might take a minute to talk about The Perfect Purée’s line of beverage blends. The ready to use flavors will allow you to create some amazing drinks or cocktails for your holiday meal. For cocktail cravings, I recommend the El Corazon which is a blend of blood orange, pomegranate and passion fruit to create fun drinks with tequila or vodka. You can use any of these products to create tasty non-alcohol alternative beverages for the kids or those who chose not to imbibe. It’s always nice to have alternatives for your guests that want to enjoy a tasty beverage but without the alcohol. Spearmint & Lime is the perfect blend of spearmint and lime to get you going on your own Mojito at home utilizing rum , vodka or even gin as the base. You can even try the Red Sangria blends to make your own home blended Sangria using fresh fruits and your favorite red or white wines to go with your perfect turkey or holiday ham. You should try the White Peach or Cranberry Purees to give your Champagne or Sparkling wine a boost of flavor, color and fun. These ideas should get you started but take a peek at the recipes online here at www.perfectpuree.com. Do you have to use a stabilizer when making sorbets and ice creams or can you make it without? Chef John: Stabilizers are not necessary for making ice creams or sorbets. What are the benefits to using a stabilizer when making sorbets and ice creams? Chef John: Stabilizers do help in the production of ice creams and sorbets as they help prevent crystallization of the sugars and also raise the melting point allowing the ice cream or sorbet to hold its shape longer. What dilution works best for the passion fruit? Chef John: It depends on the application or use of the passion fruit concentrate. But as with anything it is always best to taste or test a recipe or formulation before using it. Can you make jam/jelly/fruit butter thick without using the fruit skins or pectin? Chef John: Yes. Fruits like blueberries, apples, quince, and apricots are naturally high in pectin and can produce thick jams, jellies, or fruit butters with no use of pectin. How does a puree change the texture of my baked goods? I worry that purees will change my cookies and breads. Chef John: It depends on the formula. Sometimes one may have to consider the added sugar content of the puree or even the amount of acidity one might get from using a puree. But as a general rule, most purees could be interchanged as a portion or percentage of the liquid in a recipe. I recently purchased The Perfect Purée Banana and Raspberry Purees from your company. I want to include them in a chocolate ganache for truffles. Should I boil the puree down a bit to increase the flavor intensity? Do you have any suggestions for working with the purees and chocolate? Chef John: Due to the high quality product that is The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley, I do not suggest reducing or “boiling down” as suggested by the customer. For the Raspberry Puree I have always found good results using it as a 1 to 1 replacement for the heavy cream. For the Banana Puree, because of the viscosity, I recommend using a portion of heavy cream and the puree. Play around with ratios that give you the desired flavor and consistency of your truffles. Using the addition of a compound is also another option to help fortify your flavor profile. I have also found that using white chocolate for the Banana Puree has the best results for carrying the banana flavor. I hope this helps; have fun and enjoy your truffles!