10.21.10 Leather Fetish

Plum leather 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
Fruit leather! You can make it with practically any fruit you have on hand. Chewy, lightly sweet and loaded with delicious fruit flavor, it's ideal to stash at the office, pack in lunch boxes or take along on a hike. Better than what you can buy—because you've made it yourself with organic fruit, honey and spices—it virtually makes itself. You just cut up fruit, cook it down to a puree, pass it through a sieve, sweeten it a little and spread it out on baking sheets to dry in a very low oven. I made the mistake of leaving mine in overnight, so I couldn't monitor its progress and the edges got a little too dry, but even so they are like wonderful shards of stained glass that crunch and dissolve in the mouth.
Whole fruit 790 xxx
i used italian plums and sweet macoun apples
The recipe I used came from a fantastic book that I highly recommend to anyone interested in jams, preserves, pickles, chutneys and the like. It's The River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin. More on the River Cottage soon...
Cut up fruit 790 xxx
i added cinnamon and cardamom to the mix as it cooked down
Rolled 790 xxx
roll it up in parchment or waxed paper and store in a big jar or ziploc bag

Fruit Leather (Plum & Apple)

adapted from The River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin; makes about two 10"x12" sheets
  • — 1 pound, 2 ounces ripe Italian plums
  • — 1 pound, 2 ounces peeled, cored and chopped cooking apples
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • — 7 tablespoons raw honey
  • — 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • — 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (or more, to taste)
  • — pinch sea salt

If not using a dehydrator, preheat your oven to a very low setting, about 140 degrees. (GFL: Mine only goes down to 170, so I prop the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon.)

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the fruit, lemon juice, spices and salt in a heavy pot. Cook slowly and gently until very soft, stirring to prevent sticking, about 20 minutes or more. Press the mixture through a fine sieve or food mill into a bowl; you should have about 1 1/2 pounds of fruit puree.  

Add the honey and mix well. Divide the puree between two baking sheets. Tilt the sheets or use a rubber spatula to lightly spread the puree until it covers each sheet in a thin, even layer that stops about an inch from the edge. Place in the oven and bake until the fruit puree is completely dry but not brittle and peels easily off the parchment; this could take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, so check frequently to monitor the texture. Roll up the leather in parchment or waxed paper and store in an airtight container. Use within 6 months.

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Was at a farmer's market in Saskatchewan (in the Canadian prairies) a few weeks ago and was thrilled to taste strawberry leather and apricot leather. I love the stuff, but sometimes wonder if it's healthy or not. All that sugar, and do any of the vitamins survive the dehydration?
David on November 8, 2010 at 6:03 pm —
You mean all the sugar that's naturally in the fruit? Because this recipe doesn't really require much, and I just used honey. In fact, if you're starting with sweet fruit you might not need to add any additional sweetener. And, actually, nutrients withstand this low, slow heat much better than the boiling required for jam or the high heat baking for a cobbler. So, healthy--well, it's all relative. Better than processed beef jerky, or granola bars or a whole host of other snacks, but not for eating every day. ;-)
laura on November 8, 2010 at 6:09 pm —
Lovely! I was just in a WF and opted out of their expensive fruit leather, knowing I could make my own, so happy to find this (again!)
Elina on December 18, 2013 at 11:09 am —