I'm a supporter of eating seasonally, but sometimes I do miss summer produce—especially the fruit. Thanks to the marvels of the modern supermarket you can find fresh fruit pretty much whenever you want, but the quality falls significantly this time of year. You're not entirely out of luck if you want fruit in winter, though, because there is another option: frozen fruit. Frozen fruit isn't perfect for everything, but for dishes like baked goods, mousses, and smoothies it works remarkably well. Frozen fruit is picked at peak ripeness and tastes better than anything you can find fresh this time of year. To prove how good frozen fruit can be, we've rounded up 10 recipes to showcase it, from a rustic peach pie and berry-packed smoothies to the easiest mousse imaginable.
Light and Easy 5-Minute Fruit Mousse
Thanks to this recipe it only takes 5 minutes to make a summery dessert in the dead of winter. All you need to do is whip up sugar, an egg white, and frozen fruit in the food processor until light and fluffy—it's that easy. The mousse in the picture was made with raspberries, but you can make it with just about any frozen fruit you have on hand.
Raspberry Mousse Pie
Our 5-minute mousse is easy and delicious, but doesn't keep well. This pie, on the other hand, will last in the fridge because we add gelatin to the mousse to give it stability. We go relatively easy on the sugar, using just enough to balance the tart berries. Making a homemade crust adds time to the recipe, but our easy pie dough is approachable enough for even the most novice of bakers.
The Best Cherry Pie
You might think of fruit pie as a summer treat, but the truth is that frozen fruit works just as well as fresh (albeit with slightly jammier results). You can use the same recipe as you would for a fresh fruit pie, but keep in mind that if the fruit hasn't completely thawed when you start, then the pie might need an extra 10 or 15 minutes in the oven.
The Best Blueberry Pie
Whether you're using fresh or frozen fruit, a perfect fruit pie depends on the ratio of fruit to sugar—4:1 is the way to go. Your pie will have the most depth of flavor if you use a mix of cultivated and wild blueberries, the latter of which can be found in the freezer section of well-stocked groceries.
Freeform Peach Pie (Galette)
For all the flavor of pie without the trouble of shaping a crust, a galette is the way to go. This rustic dessert is cooked right on a baking sheet, allowing it to bake more quickly than a traditional pie. We use our old-fashioned flaky pie dough here—you can use a different recipe, but make sure it is fairly rich or else it will get soggy.
Classic Blueberry Muffins
Blueberry muffins aren't exactly tropical, but I usually only make them during the summer when the fruit is in season. During the winter, ditch the sad supermarket berries and use frozen ones, which work nicely. Just a quarter teaspoon of lemony grated coriander seed will help intensify the flavor of the blueberries.
Blueberry Crumb Cake
You can choose between fresh and frozen blueberries for crumb cake, too. We mix berries into the batter and top the cake with a crumb made with butter, flour, white and brown sugar, lemon zest, and dried blueberries. We also add just a tiny pinch of salt to the crumb, which helps bring out all the other flavors.
Vegan Kumquat Creamiscle Smoothie
This smoothie calls for a mix of frozen mango and fresh kumquats—fortunately, citrus is at its peak right now. The kumquats give the drink a refreshing tartness that will transport you to a summer day, and thickening with cashews instead of dairy keeps the flavors bright. Depending on how tart the kumquats are, the mango may or may not be enough of a sweetener, so taste as you go and add in agave if necessary.
Easy Mango-Blackberry Smoothie
We use a mix of fresh and frozen fruit here, too: frozen blackberries and fresh mango. Frozen Tommy Atkins mangos won't taste exactly the same as ripe Ataulfo ones, but we think you'll still be happy with the result. Aside from the fruit, all you need is kefir, which is a tart, tangy, drinkable yogurt that we love to use in smoothies.
The Californian Smoothie (Avocado-Berry Smoothie)
Packed with California ingredients, this strawberry and raspberry smoothie is sweetened with dates and thickened with avocado. A tablespoon of honey adds a little extra floral sweetness. Depending on your preference, you can either make the smoothie with whole milk or use almond milk to keep it vegan.