Monday, August 04, 2008

fruit leather

I had way too much fun taking pics of this flexible stuff

My friend Alice suggested that I make fruit leather and who am I to turn down a suggestion? So I picked up 2.5 kilos of apricots at a roadside stand (for 17sfr) and roughly 48 hours later, I have fruit leather. It's not hard, but it's a long wait. After 24 hours drying in the oven, I almost gave up. It seemed like an indulgent waste of energy, keeping the oven on so long. But the thought of throwing away 17sfr of fruit made me persevere. (Realistically, only those growing their own fruit should make their own fruit leather; mine cost about 6sfr per sheet.) And boy am I glad. It's so tasty. Now I just have to stop myself from eating it all in one sitting.

I used this recipe for reference but it made me angry because it says to add 1/2 cup water to the fruit before cooking. I knew this was way too much, but I decided to trust the recipe. I was right: it was way too much!!! My fruit puree was so liquidy that it took days to dry. Only add a tiny bit of water to keep the fruit from initially sticking as you turn on the heat, before the fruit starts releasing its own juices.

ready to eat

rolled up for storage

gotta love that curly-q

Recipe: Fruit Leather

1. Locate your fruit. Roughly 4 cups of fruit will yield one baking sheet of fruit leather. Use any combo of fruit that sounds good to you.

2. Rinse fruit, de-pit and/or stem as necessary, and cut into large chunks. Place fruit in a large saucepan. Add a little water or juice, just enough to keep the fruit from sticking when you initially turn on the heat. The fruit will release it's juices rather quickly. If you add too much, you'll have to cook down the puree for a long time or dry the leather for a really long time (days!).

3. Cook for 10-15 minutes, just until fruit is tender and ready to puree.

4. Puree fruit with food mill or blender. A food mill will also remove the skins and fibers, making for a finer texture.

5. Add sugar, a couple tablespoons of lemon juice, and spices as desired (you can add these while cooking the fruit, but I find it easier to adjust the taste after the fruit has been pureed). The amount of sugar depends on the sweetness of the fruit. My apricots needed tons of sugar (at least 1 cup sugar to 4 cups apricot) and after tasting the final product, I still think I could have added more.

6. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Pour the puree into the baking sheet, about 1/4 inch thick. Any thicker and it will take a lifetime to dry (I only had two baking sheets, so I think I did mine a little too thick, thus increasing the drying time even more). Make sure the plastic wrap doesn't fold over onto the puree. I had trouble with this, so moistened the sides of the pan with a little fruit puree to make the plastic wrap stick to the sides. Worked like a charm. Also, try to keep the plastic wrap from touching the sides of the oven.

7. Place baking sheet in oven at 140F/60C and let it dry until the puree is stiff and has a smooth surface, 12+ hours. Mine took at least 36 hours.

8. When the fruit leather is ready, peel up the plastic wrap off the baking sheet. To eat, peel off the plastic wrap and chomp, chomp, chomp. To store it, you can roll it up (keeping the plastic wrap on the back), put it in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.


Alice said...

Yours looks so beautiful. I knew you would master it better than mine. I'm going to try it again someday! but with apple juice instead of water.

Jessica said...

OMG you are a cooking Goddess... FRUIT LEATHER!?!? Wow. I bow down. You make it look so easy.

Please don't let my hubbie see this post, as I will be making fruit leather till the day I die if he knew it didn't just come in small, pretty colored wrappers.

Then again, perhaps I should "located my fruit" and give it a try. ;)

Tanya said...

Jessica - you make me laugh! Thanks for your fun comments. I need the ego boost :)

Susan said...

Tanya, you are the goddess of the kitchen. It's not like you have time on your hands....I feel like a slug when I see all the fun things you do.

swissscrapper said...

My mom used to make fruit leather all the time when I was a kid. She had a special food dehydrator for it, though. Or she would just lay them out in the sun. Of course, this was in Utah, where it was a dry heat. Homemade does taste so much better than the store-bought kind.

Anonymous said...

The photos were beautiful.
Thanks for the helpful hints.

Ed N. Missouri

Anonymous said...

It might seem like a silly question, but I was wondering did you use regular Saran Wrap? I was told it would melt in the oven, I doubt it since it is pretty low temp. Anyway, it does look beautiful! Great Job!!! Thanks, Barbara

Tanya said...

Hi Barbara. Yes I did use plastic wrap and it didn't melt or even get close. The temperature is very low. Good luck.

Fiona said...

OK, now I am super excited.
Firstly I just found this Blog, and secondly - FRUIT LEATHER??
My kids love this stuff and miss it so much. They will be thrilled if I make some (and it actually works of course...).

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