Fructose occurs naturally in various types of foods but it’s commonly referred to as the “fruit sugar” because it’s found in a lot of fruits and vegetables. You can also find fructose in crystalline form, which is derived primarily from cornstarch but looks like table sugar and is 1.2 times sweeter. When used in recipes, crystalline fructose boosts sweetness, texture and food stability. It works as a great substitute in almost everything except cakes.
Unlike corn syrup, crystalline fructose is 100 percent fructose. This means crystalline fructose is sweeter than other products. You can reduce the amount of sugar used in a recipe by a third when you use crystalline fructose and save calories. For instance, if you normally use ½ a cup of sugar in a recipe that is approximately 375 calories, but substitute it with fructose (1/3 cup) then the calorie count for the recipe is reduced to approximately 290 calories.
Substituting with crystalline fructose works great with Pecan Pie, for example. The pecan pie recipe provided below is approximately 1,945 calories for the whole pie (243 calories per slice), but substitute the ½ cup of granulated sugar with a ⅓ cup of crystalline fructose, and the calorie count is reduced to 1,860 calories (233 calories per slice). The calorie difference may seem marginal, but these small changes in calories can add up throughout the day.
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar – substitute with ⅓ cup crystalline fructose to cut calories
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup (1 stick butter), melted
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
One 9-inch deep-dish pie shell, unbaked, or homemade pastry
1 cup pecan halves
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar and eggs until creamy. Add the chopped pecans, melted butter, milk, flour and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Arrange the pecan halves on top of the pie in a circular pattern.
Bake the pie for 55 minutes. Check for doneness by shaking the pan slightly. The pie should be firm with only a slight jiggle in the center. It will set more as it cools. Serve topped with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt or with a dollop of whipped cream.