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Friday, February 11, 2011

First attempt at making fruit leather for the kiddos.....

and it was, well, not great! Not a total failure, but still have a ways to go. 

Rachael Ray Show recipe:
2 cups dried fruit, such as cherries or apricots

2 cups hot water

4 tablespoons honey

Yields: Makes about 30 roll-ups

Preheat oven to 200˚F with rack in center.

Place fruit in a bowl, and cover with the water. Microwave for 5 minutes to plump and soften. Drain, and reserve liquid.

Place fruit in a food processor, add honey and process until mixture is very smooth and easily spreadable. If it is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.

Cover two 10-by-15-inch baking sheets with plastic wrap. Divide puree between the sheets; spread in a thin, even layer with an offset spatula. Then sprinkle with seeds, optional.

Let dry in oven until mixture is firm but slightly tacky, about 5 hours.

Peel fruit leather from plastic wrap, and cut into 1-inch-wide strips using a pizza cutter. Roll tightly into cylinders, and serve.

Seems fairly simple, right? first mistake was not reading this recipe correctly.  Somehow, I totally missed the part that said DRIED fruit.  Yeah, probably pretty important!   I didn't notice it til I was putting this post together and cut the recipe from her page!! DUH!!!!!!!!

So back to the baking: I used 1 cup each of two fruits we got last summer.  I had peaches from our trip to Charlotte last July.  Dad took us over to South Carolina to a fab peach stand and what the kids didn't eat, I cut up and froze.  The other fruit I used was those yummy blueberries we picked in Watkinsville in July  ~ yummmm!

I processed them each seperately, mixed with a spoonful of local honey and some of the water I soaked them in. (duhhh - why does fruit need to soak in water if it isn't dried?! lol  I was tired when I made this - yeah, that's my excuse! : )

Once I had a thick puree, I spread each fruit seperately on half of a baking sheet lined with foil.  Then I baked it at 150 degrees for 2 hours, then 200 degrees for 4 hours.  It was still a little mushy in the center, so I ended up tossing some of it, but David and I cut it the rest into strips with the pizza cutter and rolled it up. 

The blueberries kind of separated and made a lacy, uneven leather.  Next time they need to be pureed with another fruit - I may try a few other berries with them ~ strawberries, blackberries perhaps? 

The peach leather is beautiful! The ends have a blue-ish tint from the blueberry puree next to them during the drying.   David said they are both delicious, and he is taking them for snack today at school.  I only got a couple strips out of this batch due to the soggy middle, but I will try again soon!!

Lessons learned - read the directions completely!! I would use the same recipe, but less water, no soaking, and definitely cook at 200 degrees the entire time.  I am going to be checking out goodwill and craigslist for a food dehydrator, too!!

Have you ever made fruit leather? If so, please share your recipe with me!! : )

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