When it comes to baking, there are many terms that can be confusing, especially when they sound similar. For example, puree, confit, confiture, jam, compote, and coulis are all terms used in baking, but they are not interchangeable. Here's a breakdown of each term and what it means:
In baking, purees are made by blending cooked or raw fruits, vegetables, or legumes until they form a smooth, creamy consistency. Purees can be used in a variety of ways, such as adding moisture to cakes, muffins, or breads, or as a filling for pies or tarts. For example, pumpkin puree is a common ingredient in pumpkin pie, while apple puree is often used in apple sauce cake.
Confit is a French term that means "preserved." In baking, confit refers to a method of cooking fruit or citrus low and slow in a sugar syrup until it becomes soft and tender. The fruit is then used as a topping for cakes or as a filling for pastries. To make confit, fruit is typically simmered in a sugar syrup over low heat until it is tender and the syrup has thickened. Once the fruit is removed from the syrup, the syrup is usually reduced further and used as a glaze or syrup for the baked goods.
Confiture is the French word for jam. In baking, jam is made by cooking fruit and sugar together until the fruit has broken down and the mixture has thickened. The fruit can be mashed, chopped, or left whole, depending on the desired texture. Jam is often used as a filling for cakes, pastries, and cookies, or as a spread for toast or scones.
While similar to confiture, jam typically contains pieces of fruit that have not been pureed. It is also cooked with sugar and often contains pectin, a natural thickener, to give it a jammy texture. The fruit is often chopped or mashed to create small chunks, giving jam a spreadable texture. Some popular types of jam include strawberry, raspberry, and apricot.
A compote is a dessert made from cooked fruit that has been stewed in a sugar syrup. The fruit is often cut into small pieces and cooked with sugar, water, and spices until it is tender and the syrup has thickened. Compote can be served hot or cold and is often used as a topping for cakes, ice cream, or yogurt. Popular fruits used in compote include berries, apples, and stone fruit.
In baking, a coulis is a thick, fruit-based sauce that is typically made by pureeing fruit and adding sugar or other sweeteners. Coulis can also be made with vegetables, such as tomato or bell pepper, for a savory application. The sauce is often strained to remove any seeds or pulp, resulting in a smooth, velvety texture. Coulis is often used as a drizzle or topping for cakes, pastries, or desserts, or as a sauce for meat or fish dishes. Some popular coulis flavors include raspberry, mango, and chocolate.
While these terms may sound similar, they each have unique characteristics that make them distinct. Understanding their differences can help you choose the right ingredient for your recipe and add a delicious touch to your baked goods.