Raisins are fantastic in baked goods like oatmeal cookies and (of course) your Grandma’s famous carrot cake. Because they’re so dry, however, raisins tend to absorb the liquid from your baked goods, making the final dessert less moist. That’s almost never a good thing! The best bakers take a key extra step—soaking raisins before folding them into the batter.
How to Plump Raisins
Choose the Right Soaking Liquid
Water is the most common soaking liquid, but fruit juices (like pineapple for Aunt Murna’s Jam Cake), extracts and spirits (like rum and brandy) can also be used. Another liquid that many have never considered but is a natural choice is eggs. Most baked goods call for eggs anyway, so by soaking your fruit in the eggs before mixing them into your batter, you don’t have to worry about adding any extra liquid.
Pick a Tried-and-True Method
Different cooks all have different methods for soaking their dried fruit, each believing their technique yields a more plump product. There are at least four ways to achieve soaked fruit. Here are the best I’ve heard:
- Pour enough hot water over the raisins to cover them and let them sit for 10-15 minutes, then drain and use.
- Add both your liquid and the raisins to a saucepan and heat the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes before draining and using.
- Place the raisins in a microwave-safe bowl and cover them with liquid; microwave for 2-3 minutes, then soak for 10-15 minutes before folding into batter.
- Cover the raisins with room temperature liquid and soak for 30 minutes. After that time has passed, they’re ready to use!
Pro Tip: Soaking longer isn’t necessarily better. Raisins will only plump so much, and they’ll do it pretty quickly.
Generally speaking, any method will work. You can simply make your choice based on how much time you have and how many dishes you want to wash! It’s worth noting that soaking raisins isn’t limited to baked goods—plump them for snacks, salad toppings or even a couscous side dish.