I miss the flavour of dried fruit. I used to add sultanas (golden raisins) dried figs, dates, cherries etc, when baking low-carb sweet treats.
Real dried fruit is wildly carby and out-of-bounds, so I set out to make myself some fake dried fruit that was truly low-carb.
This is not a recipe for dessert as such, but an ingredient for making baking more fun and more realistic.
Plus, it is a great way for using up the mountains of summer zucchini we all get gifted with, or grew ourselves.
Although I wrote this out for small quantities, you can make this in bulk and freeze it by doubling, tripling, or quadrupling the amounts. White Patty Pan squash are perfect for this, or yellow skinned zucchini, as they don't need to be peeled first.
1kg summer squash, weighed after peeling
40 tsp equivalent sweetener of choice
1 tsp food colouring
1 tsp food flavouring
To make 100g (3.5 ounces) of "dried fruit" you need roughly 1 kilo (about 2lbs 3oz) summer squash, peeled if it has a dark skin.
Slice the squash into rings no more than 6mm thick (1/4 inch) and dry them, either in a a commercial dehydrator, a home-made one like this http://www.rawpaleodiet.com/wp-cont...nstructions.pdf
or just by hanging them up in a sunny window threaded on a string, like I do.
You want to get them down to about 8% of their original weight, but not totally dry.
If you want to imitate raisins, chop the dried pieces up to make the right size.
If you want to make apple slices, leave them whole or cut in half. For cherries, quarter them.
Next, we want to colour, sweeten, and flavour the pieces.
Put the dried and cut squash pieces in a plastic mixing bowl.
Add the equivalent of 40 tsp sugar of whatever sweetener you favour.
If you are using a bulked sweetener or tablets then dissolve it in 2 tablespoons of hot water first.
Add this to the bowl.
You can colour the pieces if you wish. I use a mix of orange and black food colouring to make brown for raisins;
red for cherries and strawberries; for apple I leave it plain. I use about a teaspoon of concentrated liquid colour, but brands vary.
Add this to the bowl if desired.
Flavouring: there are so many flavours out there in the baking world these days. I have fig, date, rum and raisin, prune, apple, cherry, pomegranite, mango, passionfruit, and strawberry, which I have used with great results.
I also have christmas pudding and mince pie flavours which are just divine and make great generic " mixed dried fruit".
I use about a teaspoon of flavouring for this quantity, but brands do vary a lot so you may need to experiment.
You want more rather than less, because these flavourings can "flash off" when baked, making the taste somewhat diminished.
Add this to the bowl.
Mix the squash with the sweetener, colour, and flavouring until it is all throughly distributed and an even colour.
Cover the bowl and put in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight, so it can absorb the fluids. You can give a turn or shake now and then if fluid is still pooled in the bottom. Use within a couple of days, or freeze.
Thats it. What you make with your fake dried fruit is up to you.
I'm making "apple" crumble with "raisins" tonight!
Assuming you use a non-bulking sweetener and non-caloric flavours and colours:-
17g carbs of which 9g fibre