How to glaze berries: a simple way to dress up dessert

Have you ever admired the super-shiny fruit tarts you see at the supermarket bake shop?

Nestled like colorful jewels in the bakery case among the plainer sugar cookies and lemon squares, they stand out like royalty at a peasants’ ball.

How do they make those strawberries and blackberries and raspberries SO shiny?

Well, supermarket bakeries often use a clear, gel-based spray or liquid coating to glaze berries. Easily applied, it sets up quickly and holds well, often for days.

But at home, there’s a solution that’s just as easy and, in my opinion, much tastier.

How to glaze berries via @kingarthurflour

Jelly – pure, plain, and simple.

Not jam; not preserves. And no guarantees with sugar-free – I’ve only tested this with standard jelly.

How to glaze berries via @kingarthurflour

But look what a nice job it does – those are some shiny berries, eh?

Let’s put this tip into action on one of my favorite desserts, Easy Cheesecake.

How to glaze berries via @kingarthurflour

How to glaze berries, step #1: Make sure the base for your berries is completely cool.

A pie, tart, or cheesecake that’s even slightly warm can wreak havoc with your glaze.

How to glaze berries via @kingarthurflour

How to glaze berries, step #2: Heat jelly until it liquefies.

This will only take 20 seconds or so in the microwave. I’ve chosen strawberry as a nice complement to the berries. Currant jelly is the traditional choice for glazing. Use apple if you’re using sliced fruit instead of berries (e.g., peaches, banana, or kiwi), and want a neutral color.

How to glaze berries via @kingarthurflour

How to glaze berries, step #3: Toss the melted jelly with the berries of your choice.

I’m using about 4 cups: blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. This is enough to cover the surface of a 9″ pie or cheesecake. Cut the strawberries into bite-sized pieces if they’re large.

ONE MAJOR CAVEAT HERE: Chopped berries, even when glazed, tend to exude juice as they sit. If you use chopped berries, top just before serving, or within a few hours. If you wait longer than that, berry juice will start to seep down into the filling, creating a potentially messy presentation.

Toss the berries with the melted jelly; a tablespoon or so is enough to coat a cup of berries, so I’m using a generous 1/4 cup jelly here.

Add the raspberries at the end, stirring briefly just to combine. They’re fragile, and can’t stand much handling.

How to glaze berries via @kingarthurflour

How to glaze berries, step #4: Spoon the fruit atop your dessert.

Don’t be afraid to rearrange the berries a bit, for best presentation.

Looking for a more orderly look? Arrange individual berries atop your dessert, rather than tossing them all together. Here’s how –

How to glaze berries via @kingarthurflour

How to glaze berries, step #5: Arrange fruit artfully, rather than tossing.

For a more elegant presentation, make a pretty pattern with the fruit.

Create your arrangement on “dry land” first. Here I’ve used an 8″ parchment round to mimic the surface of the cheesecake. Looks good on paper – translates nicely to the cake.

How to glaze berries via @kingarthurflour

How to glaze berries, step #6: Brush with melted jelly.

The jelly not only looks nice, it imparts a bit of berry flavor.

Note that strawberries cut this way – in half, with their cut side facing up – won’t “weep” juice and puddle onto the filling below, as chopped berries can.

How to glaze berries via @kingarthurflour

Here are a couple of other options for glazing. At left, glazed berries have been ladled over unglazed. At right, glazed kiwi slices are topped with unglazed blueberries.

How to glaze berries via @kingarthurflour

Talk about the perfect 4th of July dessert…

What will YOU top with glazed berries this summer?

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Stacey

    This is super! Another one to add to my top ten…and the top ones always come from PJ!! Just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Thanks so much.

    Reply
  2. Madeline

    I particularly enjoy using apricot jam for a nice glaze. Never thought about putting glazed with some unglazed fruit! You folks are great there at KA Flour! Keep on baking!

    Reply
  3. Anderson Nowick

    According to me adding honey and lime ZEST to any fruit is incredible too! Sounds light and refreshing. I am a new follower!
    Thank You,

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Michael, we can agree to disagree on this one. I tested a gelatin-based glaze and this one side by side, and didn’t see a difference in holding power. To each his own, eh? PJH

  4. Connie Farabaugh

    I really enjoy everything I’ve received from KA, and this piece about glazing is the first time I’ve had a chance to ask a question on my problem. I’ve used the apple jelly, apricot, and honey-lime glace for years but I have the same problem most of the time, I use a shortbread and nut crust (pre baked) with a cream cheese and mascarprone with grated orange filling. But the glace always seems wet and doesn’t gel, it also weeps into the filling, yes I do use a combination of cut and whole fruits. Should I put some gelatin into my filling to make it firmer ? This dessert is really beautiful and is always requested for summer picnics. Can you help me?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Connie, if you’re going to use cut fruit, you could try an approach of mixing cut fruit with some barely cooked fruit that’s been thickened with cornstarch, using this approach. Or you could try thickening your topping with Instant ClearJel, which would be a lot easier; it’s a food starch (not gelatin) that thickens liquids instantly. Good luck – PJH

  5. Sissy Ashby

    Am going to make a ricotta/cream cheese tart for tomorrow’s dessert. Now know how to top it.
    Have both local strawberries and blueberries. Just need the jelly.
    Thanks for the tip.

    Reply
  6. Pat45

    I’ve always wanted to know how to make fruit shine like that. I’ll put fruit on top of my oh so simple yogurt pie.

    Reply
  7. grandma4five

    Oh my gosh, another recipe to try! Oh darnit – must go a cookin’! This is way to simple, bakers! Thank you so much for your recipes!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      You’re most welcome – always glad to make your time in the kitchen even more enjoyable! 🙂 PJH

  8. Carol

    I loved this post! I tried it yesterday with strawberries that I put over ice cream. The berries looked beautiful and tasted great.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Another excellent idea, Carol – I did it today with strawberry shortcake and, like you said, the berries looked super-pretty! Thanks for sharing here – PJH

  9. Roberto Bruschke

    Made this last night…with some changes. I used strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, apple and pear. AMAZING! Awesome summer picnic dish!

    Reply
  10. baju batik

    Great article you have here
    I always look for this kind of great information
    I will surely bookmark this blog and will visit here again.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sylvia, I would not recommend freezing a glazed fresh fruit tart, as the fruit would not hold up well in the freezer. Barb@KAF

  11. Jane

    I want to put a thin, clear shiny glaze over some of my cakes that I bake in beautiful bundt pans. Would this jelly glaze work or would it stay too sticky? If I did use this, would I glaze the cake while warm? I don’t care for it to soak in, I just want it to make the cakes more attractive. Thanks! I always enjoy reading your tips.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Jane,
      This might work out well for you, but the cake will be wetter and a bit sticky on top. It’s definitely worth a try though, brushing the glaze on while your cakes are still warm. ~ MJ

  12. Hanaba

    Melted apple jelly worked great as a glaze for my German Obsttort, or whatever you call them. I used about half of an 18-ounce jar of jelly for a tart that was 13 inches in diameter, crust included.I nuked it bit by bit and poured it on the fruit, a mix of canned and fresh. The jelly glaze looked and tasted good. The jelly is a good replacement for thickened fruit juice, which is what I’d tried to use before. Thankful to know this trick.

    Reply
  13. Cathy Sweitzer

    Happy Blessed Thanksgiving!!!
    Thank you for posting this glaze answer ….like the others have always wanted to duplicate those expensive fruit tarts ….And in my area Leesburg VA I mean expensive like $30 for a tiny litte tart from just the usual grocery store Wegmans. Thank you so much and yes add me to your list.

    Reply
  14. Mary Watts

    I am making a small wedding cake for July 2nd and the bride wants fresh fruit on the cake. If I used the glaze method and applied the fruit the night before, would the fruit hold up until the wedding day? Any advice would be most welcome!!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Mary,
      The glazed fruit should be applied only a few hours before service, especially during warm humid conditions. The sugar can absorb moisture from the air and become runny. ~ MJ

  15. Mary Mansfield

    I am making a naked boho wedding cake with fruit as decoration around the layers. The bride wants the fruit to have the “sugary” glazed look. Would this method work or am I way off base??
    Thank you for any suggestions!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Mary, the bride could very well be talking about this glazing technique, or she could be wanting sugar-coated fruit, which is just as simple. Just take an egg white wash and brush it over berries and then roll them in sugar. Presto! Beautiful AND tasty. Check out our Buche De Noel blog post to get an idea. Bryanna@KAF

  16. Marjorie Flowers

    I’ve been trying to make a cake that it’s covered with very thin peach slices arranged in concentric circles on the top of the cake. The problem I have had is that the glaze “puddles” in the crevices where the peach slices meet. I tried thinning the jelly with a bit of water, but that just left me with puzzles of thin glaze rather than puddles of thick glaze. I tried dipping each individual peach slice in glaze and letting it drain before I placed them on the cake — still puddles. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Marjorie, one trick with glazing is only using a very little bit of the glaze – barely touching the surface of your fruit with the glazed brush. You may want to try wiping excess off your brush before applying it to the fruit to help with this. It may also help to use a boar bristle brush rather than a silicone one, as they tend to absorb more liquid, allowing you to apply an even thinner layer of glaze. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Sylvia, if you’re looking to print the recipe for the Easy Cheesecake, you can do so by clicking here. For all of our recipes, there’s a “Print Recipe” option on the top right hand side of the page. There’s no printable recipe for the glaze since it’s more of a technique than a step-by-step recipe. We hope that helps clarify. Kye@KAF

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