Dried fruit can be used in trail mix, served at parties, or simply enjoyed as-is. However it also makes a great ingredient in baked goods, sauces, braised dishes and desserts. Try adding finely chopped dried fruit to scones, soda bread, cookies, muffins, homemade granola, granola bars and more.
Adding dried fruit to braising dishes just before the slow-braise will rehydrate it and infuse its flavors into the sauce. Some varieties will also break down during the braising process.
Dried fruit is sometimes rehydrated before being used as an ingredient. The most common way to do this is to place the fruit in a bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until plump, then drain the water.
Other methods include soaking the fruit overnight in the refrigerator (results may vary with the variety), steaming, or poaching in liquid on the stove. However, this poaching liquid need not be pure water. Many chefs rehydrate dried fruits in liqueurs to infuse them with additional flavor.
Dried cherries are particularly good in scones, granola, sauces and cookies. Pair them with flavors like vanilla beans, dark or white chocolate, balsamic vinegar, dairy (cream, crème fraiche, mascarpone), lemon, and duck meat.