fruit leather strips

fruit leather strips
Saw this recipe in a magazine a few years ago but of course I changed it and use way less sweetener because, come on, it’s fruit!? Naturally sweet, remember. I even experimented omitting the honey but I think it might be needed to help give the tackiness that’s required at the end (but I may experiment with that one more time). 
This recipe is so simple – two ingredients! (And again, I’m going to try it once more with just the one ingredient. I like no rules and simplifying when it comes to food.) Basically, you are going to use your oven as a dehydrator.

gluten free, nut free, dairy free, vegan, paleo
fruit leather strips
Oven 170; use convection if possible (which cuts time in half – 3 hrs vs 6), centre rack
makes approx 15, 1.25″ wide strips

I used blueberries and strawberries here, but raspberries, cherries, peaches and fresh apricots also work well. 

Puree fruit, one at a time, in high-speed blender or processor fruit to smooth (allow fruit to fully thaw if using from frozen):
• 4c* blueberries
• 2c* halved strawberries 
*These are the measurements I used, and you can use whatever you have – no rules – however I think 3c (or 4c whole strawberries) fits perfectly on a regular sized silipat baking sheet/baking pan.

Pour into pots, bring to boil, stir, lower to simmer, using a spatula scraping down sides and along bottom, until any foam disappears and purée becomes glossy.
• approx 10 min blueberries, longer for other fruits; strawberries, good 20 min
Remove from heat and stir in:
• honey (for strawberry I added 1/2 tbsp, blueberries 1 tbsp)
(mixture can be refrigerated overnight if you don’t have enough time to dehydrate/next steps)
Place silipat on baking sheet and pour on mixture:
• 1/8” thick – don’t spread right to the edge of silipat sheet – leave edges slightly thicker then middle as they will dry out faster. Tilt pan to spread, if edges are too thin push outwards with silicone spatula till thicker along edges.
Next, you dry the puree in the oven. This process preserves the fruit by removing moisture slowly at a low temperature and concentrating the flavour. Once finished, you want it to look leathery but sticky or tacky to the touch and not completely dry. (Be sure to test the centre – poke it to be sure it’s dry – in case it was thicker, which it shouldn’t be…but once I had to leave one in extra long because the centre was still wet. So really be sure to spread it well – thicker on sides then centre.)
You can half the time if you are using convection, approx 3 hours (6-7 hours without convection), but also just watch it…I once took out a strawberry leather batch after 2.5 hours with no convection, but that oven was a bit hotter than 170. So if you have a hot oven (side note: get an oven thermometer and test it as you should know the heat of your oven) just keep an eye on it. Remember you want it sticky to the touch, but not so that your finger leaves a mark or indent when you touch it. 
Ok, this next step I have skipped before but it’s best to do it as they leather was not dry, I noticed, after I’d rolled with parchment and cut the strips. (Especially for blueberries, it should not be skipped.) Transfer the silipat sheet with fruit leather on top to a cooling rack to cool. You should leave it out to dry for 12-24 hours. So if you’re desperate (child having tantrum at news of waiting another day) you can cut off a strip along the sides, especially if you’re serving it right away. I just found once I skipped this step, and stored the strips, then the parchment got a bit damp after absorbing too much moisture (see an example of this in photos; you can also see it in the rolls that fall a bit limp, aren’t perfectly round, and/or damp spots on the parchment paper). 
Sometimes the blueberry leather may still appear to have some moisture on top, even after this step. Simply dab it with a paper towel.
Place a large piece of parchment paper over the fruit leather. Flip it over onto a cutting board. Slowly peel back the silipat baking sheet (which is now on top – see photo). Roll the parchment, starting at the long side. Cut with a sharp knife or scissors. Done! Store in an air tight container.
NEXT UP – experimenting with fruit & veggie combos for fruit leather…cinnamon, sweet potatoes, beets, apples, carrots, etc… I’ll post if it’s a hit.