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Blackberry and Apple Leather

(recipe, Pam Corbin)

Introduction

Fruit leathers are thin, pliable sheets of dried, sweetened fruit purée with a flexible consistency like leather. To be truthful, I had always avoided making them, thinking they sounded complicated. But in a spirit of experimentation, I decided to try some out. They were a revelation. I discovered how easy it is to create these strong, semitransparent sheets, and how versatile they are. They are fun to use and eat — you can cut them, roll them, fold them, and pack them away. Light and easy to carry, they're full of fruity energy, so they're great for lunch boxes or long walks. Snip off pieces to dissolve gently into fruit salads, or save them for the festive season when their translucent, jewel-like colors will look gorgeous on the Christmas tree.

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound, 2 ounces blackberries
  2. 1 pounds, 2 ounces peeled, cored, and chopped cooking apples (2 to 3 large apples)
  3. Juice of 1 lemon
  4. 7 Tbsp. honey

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees. Line two baking sheets, each measuring about 10 by 12 inches, with parchment paper.
  2. Put the blackberries, apples, and lemon juice into a pan. Cook gently until soft and pulpy, about 20 minutes. Press the mixture through a sieve or food mill into a bowl; you should have about 1½ pounds of fruit purée. Add the honey and mix well.
  3. Divide the purée between the two baking sheets. Spread it out lightly with the back of a spoon until the purée covers each sheet in a thin, even layer.
  4. Put the baking sheets in the oven for 12 to 18 hours, until the fruit purée is completely dry and easily peels off the parchment.
  5. Roll up the leather in parchment or waxed paper and store in an airtight container. Use within 5 months.

Note

Variations: You can turn any fruit into a leather. All you need to do is create a smooth, thick purée with your chosen fruit before drying it out. Try plums, spicing the purée with a little cinnamon; or peaches, infusing them with a few honeysuckle blossoms as they cook. For a savory leather, use half apples and half tomatoes seasoned with 2 teaspoons of souper mix or celery salt.