Fruit purees can be used successfully to replace some of the fat in baked goods.
Drained applesauce, strained baby food fruit, or a puree of prunes and water all work well. You can also use a puree of water and any dried fruit, such as dried apples, apricots, or peaches. The quickest option: a product called fruit puree fat replacement, carried in most supermarkets. It’s a combination of pureed fruits and lecithin, a natural emulsifier found in corn, soybeans, and egg yolks.
Homemade Fat Replacement
Cut 2 apples and 2 pears into chunks and place in a saucepan with 2/3 cup water and 1 tablespoon each lemon juice and lecithin granules (available in health food stores). Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook 40 minutes, mashing occasionally. Press through a sieve or food mill. Refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze up to 6 months. To use, substitute fat replacement for about two-thirds of the total amount of oil, butter, or shortening in baked goods, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil. For example, to replace 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, use 5 tablespoons fat replacement and 2 tablespoons oil. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.
Puree 1/2 cup pitted prunes (or equal amounts of prunes and dried apples) and 1/4 cup water in a blender or processor until smooth. The dark color and strong flavor of this fat replacement make it best suited to chocolate-based or heavily spiced baked goods. To replace 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, use 1/3 cup prune puree. Makes about 2/3 cup.