Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My daughter's into leather

Fruit leather, that is.  But at close to five bucks a box, it's an expensive habit.   When I saw not one, but two posts on how to make this treat at home, I knew it was a sign* that I should put away my credit card and start chopping berries.

Homemade Strawberry Fruit Leather
Of the two recipes on the web, the one from In Sock Monkey Slippers won me over.  Perhaps it was the addition of basil, or the approach of pureeing the mix before cooking.  Either way, it was a great jumping off point.

Our spin on things was to strain out a good portion of the seeds, increase the sugar just a little, and to add some fresh mint.   The end result is like pure concentrated summer, all rolled up.   Call me kinky, but I can't wait to try this with apricots, cherries, or a wild and crazy mix of fruits, stoned or not!

Guess I'm now into leather, too.

About 2 lbs. of fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
3/4 c. sugar
generous handful of fresh basil and/or mint leaves
1 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Line a large (11x17) baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  Preheat oven to 175.

Place berries, sugar, herbs and lemon juice in food processor.  Puree for several minutes, until completely smooth.

Taste the mix (Stop! One spoonful is enough!), and decide if you want more or less of anything.  The flavor will get more intense as it dries, so you are really looking to adjust the sugar/acid balance more than anything.

Transfer the mixture to a large saucepan.  I strained mine to remove a good portion of the gritty seeds, but this is optional.   Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until slightly thickened.

Pour mixture into prepared baking sheet

Smoothing out to the edges with a spatula.  Bake for 6-8 hours, or overnight, at 175.

It's done when the leather is slightly less shiny, and not sticky to the touch.

The is the cool part!  Trim the edges of the parchment paper that were hanging over the pan, then just roll the leather up, parchment paper and all.  Presto! Instant fruit roll up!  Cut into desired sized rolls with kitchen shears or a sharp serrated knife.

You can keep them stored in an airtight container, for several weeks.

Unroll, peel off the parchment paper, and enjoy in little chewy bites...

Or, wrap around your finger and enjoy all at once.  Either way, yum!! 

* Yes, Mom, I can still hear you.  Loud and clear.  The strawberries were on special this week.

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