Prune Flavor Pairings

Prunes and goat cheese are classic pairings any time of the year. Make this salad in the winter by substituting roasted, diced beets in place of the raspberries.
Prunes and goat cheese are classic pairings any time of the year. Make prune and goat cheese salad in the winter by substituting roasted, diced beets in place of the raspberries.

Prunes are classic with cheese plates and chocolate desserts, but there’s a great deal more to explore. For starters, prunes have rich flavor and a high concentration of sweetness and acidity, delivering bright, caramel notes in a mellow way that works well with both sweet and savory foods. Prunes also have a concentration of antioxidant phenolic compounds, which also help them act as a flavor stabilizer if used in marinades or sauces.

Want a more tender pork roast that can marinate for a few days in the refrigerator? Blend prunes into the marinade. Want a flourless chocolate cake with a little more stability? Fold in prune puree.

Prunes and Savory Foods

crispy baked pork cutlets
Tonkatsu sauce is Japan’s answer to ketchup because it adds a salty, tangy counterpoint for breaded cutlets. In this tonkatsu recipe, prunes are blended in for sweetness in place of sugar.

On the savory side, prunes are especially good in sauces with soy and ginger flavors, such as Japanese Tonkatsu Sauce, and in sauces with tomato, like this barbecue sauce. Prunes are also a classic match with pork, as seen this recipe for pork chops with prune pan sauce. And prune puree can be blended into both vegetarian and meat-based burgers to improve flavor, add moisture, and enhance caramelization.

Prunes and Sweet Foods

This mousse is sweetened with prunes and flavored with a hint of coffee and cardamom.
This mousse is sweetened with prunes and flavored with a hint of coffee and cardamom.

Prunes and chocolate have been a classic pairing for decades. In Poland, chocolate-covered prunes are treats given as gifts. The reason the pairing works is that prunes are rich enough in caramel sweetness that they act as a background flavor, letting the chocolate be the star ingredient. Prunes are also easy to match with warm baking spices, from cinnamon and nutmeg to ginger, cloves, and allspice. Prunes and spices come together in this chocolate mousse. Used as a puree in gingerbread or pumpkin spice bread, prunes also can take the place of molasses.

And because prunes are rich in moisture-retaining fiber, prune puree can take the place of butter and other kinds of fat in baking without a loss of richness. In this honey almond cake, prune puree allows for reductions in both butter and sugar.

Flavor Pairings with Sunsweet Ingredients

Sunsweet’s range of prune-based ingredients also provide new ways to pair prunes with a range of flavors. Some of our ingredients are tangy and others sweet and mellow. Using our concentrates, purees, dices, or powder, you can get creative with everything from barbecue sauce to Korean fried chicken. Here are a few ideas to get started:

Fresh Plum Concentrate
Pair it with: honey-garlic shrimp, Korean fried chicken, Thai red curry, tandoori marinade, lemon-garlic marinade, sriracha, muhammara, chimichurri, romesco sauce, coriander and mint, red wine vinegar, tomatoes and tomato sauce, salsa, enchilada sauce, shallots, currants, cranberries, maple syrup, fruit smoothies
Use it to replace: pomegranate molasses, honey

Prune Juice Concentrate
Pair it with: barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, gochujang, tamarind, ginger, mole, pot roast, ragu, rosemary-garlic marinade, black pepper, whole grains, granola, oranges, dried cherries and dried cranberries, dark chocolate, baking spices, gingerbread, brown butter, cream cheese, coffee, yogurt, toasted nuts
Use it to replace: Molasses, balsamic vinegar, saba

Dried Plum Puree
Pair it with: barbecue sauce, smoked salt, black pepper, chili, chutney, hoisin sauce, caramelized onion, mole, whole grains, oranges, dried fruit, sun-dried tomatoes, soy sauce, toasted nuts, dark chocolate, cream cheese, yogurt
Use it to replace: Tamarind paste, date paste

Dried Plum Powder
Pair it with: whole grains, ancho chili powder, black pepper, cumin, fennel, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, nutmeg, ginger, star anise
Use it to replace: some salt and spices in any spice blend

Diced Dried Plums or Whole Plums
Pair it with: lamb tagine, braised chicken with olives, terrines and pâtes, scones, oranges, apples, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried cherries, dark chocolate, fruit tarts, pastry cream, Armagnac, black tea, baking spices, toasted nuts, oatmeal
Use it to replace: dates, figs, raisins

Prune Bits
Pair it with: ancho chiles, Chinese barbecue sauce, soy sauce, cinnamon, toasted nuts, rugelach, whole grains, chocolate, dried fruit, oats, tea, orange juice, vanilla, coffee
Use it to replace: Apple puree, Dried Plum Puree

For more ideas: