Tutti frutti is an Italian confection made with sliced fruit that has been candied or dried to preserve it. The fruit is often brightly colored with various dyes to make it more visually interesting, and it may be used in a variety of ways. Classically, tutti frutti is used in ice cream and confections like spumoni. Many markets carry it, along with products which are manufactured with it.
In Italian, “tutti frutti” means “all fruit,” so it should not surprise you to learn that a wide variety of fruits can be used to make it. Essentially, as long as it dries well, any fruit can be included in this mix. Some common fruits include pineapple, papaya, mango, apricot, and grapefruit, although many others can be used, and sometimes nuts are employed as well. All of the fruit is generally diced fairly small, making it difficult to recognize by sight, especially after it has been dyed.
Traditionally, tutti frutti is sold preserved in brandy, with cooks ladling out what they need as they need it. Several firms also make a mixed fruit flavoring that they call by this name; this flavoring usually comes in the form of a syrup that can be drizzled onto food or blended into it as it is prepared. Like the regular fruit mix, the flavoring tends to be very sweet.
Tutti frutti can be used in ice cream, cakes, and other confections, such as cookies and scones. Many people like to use it in holiday baking, because the colors are bright and festive. Some stores sell several varieties, ranging from traditional versions preserved in brandy to dry versions that come in sealed plastic packaging.
In addition to purchasing tutti frutti, you can also make it at home. If you are feeling especially motivated, you can dry and chop the fruit yourself, coloring it if desired. You can also use dried fruit purchased at the store to make your own blend. In both cases, having more control over the ingredients can be an advantage, especially if you want a particular flavor. You can also package your mix and give it out during the holidays.