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. The Baker's Hotline

      Of course, Gloria. Just aim to not have too much extra glaze as when it drips onto the buttercream it looks a little slimy. Annabelle@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That sounds like an attractive and delicious combination, Amy! You should be able to glaze it several hours ahead of time. If stored it in the fridge, glazed pies and tarts are often made up and glazed a day ahead of time. Happy glazing! Annabelle@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

  1. 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

  2. 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

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