Texture tools for fruit fillings
When working with fruit fillings, bakers may consider how the filling may affect texture in the final product. They should know each fruit has different characteristics.
“Different fruits have different starting sugar levels that need to be accounted for during the food processing,” said Nesha Zalesny, technical sales manager for Fiberstar, Inc., River Falls, Wis. “These varying sugar levels can affect the texture and sweetness of the final product.”
Varying fruit types also have different concentrations of ions, with calcium being one of the most important to track, she said. Typical ingredients used in fruit fillings to provide viscosity, texture and process stability include starches, fibers like citrus fiber and gums.
“Starches and certain fibers are not calcium-sensitive,” Ms. Zalesny said. “On the other hand, low-methoxyl pectin used extensively in Europe and other hydrocolloids like gellan gum are calcium-sensitive. The recommended amount of calcium to activate the gelling and setting properties depends on the type of hydrocolloid(s).”
Fiberstar offers Citri-Fi, a citrus fiber ingredient that contains a unique composition of pectin, cellulose and hemicellulose to provide functionality in fruit fillings, she said. It may be added at 0.5% to 1% to a starch-based fruit filling, which increases bake stability, or it may replace pectin in a pectin-based filling.
Citri-Fi is about 40% high-methoxyl pectin, which means it needs to be added at about 2.5 times the amount of pectin normally added. The cellulose and hemicellulose content of Citri-Fi give the gel more backbone, which makes fillings more stable. The ingredient is tolerant to low-pH food processing conditions.
Citri-Fi, which may be labeled as citrus fiber, citrus flour or dried citrus pulp, locks in water to prevent blow-outs during baking. Its water-holding properties prevent blow-outs and/or syneresis over shelf life when the sugar content is reduced in a product.
“There are several attributes fruit fillings should have such as food process stability, appearance and great taste,” Ms. Zalesny said. “One of the key attributes is bake stability. The filling needs to not boil out of the baked good during the cook step. This is crucial as blow-out can lead to production problems and reduced productivity. In the case of fried pies, blow-out leads to oil fouling, which, again, reduces productivity.
“In addition to bake stability, the filling also needs to be easy to deposit. An ideal filling to be deposited produces a clean cut texture that doesn’t form a tail during the depositing step. Many consumers prefer a clear sauce that has a glassy finish, and of course, the fruit filling needs to taste good.”