Soaking raisins for baking
Anything is better with raisins - that's the universal baking truth, but I'll go further: soaking raisins makes it even nicer.
Dried fruit are simply dehydrated: all moisture removed by exposure to sun, air or their mechanical equivalents. That makes them last long and keep well but any way you look - they are dry.
It isn't essential but soaking raisins before adding them to dough or batter makes them nicer, plumper and more flavoursome. I always soak them for tea cakes, hot cross buns or festive breads like panettone, but fruit scones will benefit as well if the fruit is soaked before adding it to the pastry.
How to soak raisins for baking?
Weigh out the required amount of raisins or sultanas, place them in a ziplock bag and add about half a cup of hot liquid. Close the bag and leave them to soak for at least an hour and overnight if you can.
Even plain water will make a difference, but fruit juice or liquor works better. The best results, depending of course on your recipe, will be with clear white rum, port (it will colour the dough), sherry or kirsch.
After soaking drain the raisins thoroughly or shake off, and additionally rinse if you were using port and dark colour is unwanted.
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