Ingredients

  • Fruit (apple, pear, damson, etc.), 1 kg
  • Lemon juice, 1 (optional)
  • Honey, to taste (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 60°C.
  2. Prepare two 24x30 cm baking sheets by lining them with baking parchment.
  3. Prepare the fruit according to type, e.g. peel and core apples and pears, halve and stone damsons and plums.
  4. Place in a pan (some fruits such as cooking pears will need added liquid) and cook gently, stirring frequently, until the fruit is very soft.
  5. Purée.
  6. Stir in honey and lemon juice, if using.
  7. Spread the fruit pulp thinly and evenly over the baking parchment using the back of a spoon.
  8. Place in the oven and leave for 12 – 18 hours (or longer!) until the purée is dry and easily peels off the baking parchment.
  9. When cold, roll the fruit leather sheets in fresh baking parchment and store in an airtight tin.  

Keeping time

Recipes, in general, are not very helpful giving keeping times from two weeks to years! Pam Corbin suggests that it will keep for around five months.

Uses

Common Ground’s “The Apple Source Book” suggests that it can be formed into cones or rolls to contain ice cream. Small sheets can be included in children’s lunch boxes.

Notes

I have now made several using fruit including apples, pears, quinces, plums and damsons. You could even make a savoury version with tomato and apple.

Making your own means you can control quantities of ingredients such as honey or spices.

Ground spices will give it a slightly gritty texture.

History

Fruit Leather is the perfect way to use gluts of apples and other orchard fruit. The fruit leather I describe here is not part of our culinary heritage, as it originally relied on a warmer and sunnier climate than ours, such as that of South Africa. Indian recipes use mango. Most recipes on the internet, however, are from the States. The only recipe I came across in my now large collection of books, was in the River Cottage Preserving Handbook, written by Pam Corbin. 

Recipe kindly donated by Monica Askay