When I was a kid, I used to love it when my mom would slip a Fruit Roll-Up (aka "fruit leather") in my lunchbox. There was that satisfying, "Screeeeeeeeech!" as you ripped it off the cellophane and all the possibilities! It was the one time it was ok to play with your food. You could wad it up and shove the whole thing in your mouth, cut out eye-holes and make it into a mask or build unidentifiable creatures out of it. Well, with a bag of apricots languishing on my counter and a sense of nostalgia in my heart I decided to embark on making some homemade apricot fruit leather yesterday. It turned out to be super easy and the kidlets loved it (as did the adults).
sugar (honey can be substituted)
[4 cups of diced fruit yields about 1 large cookie sheet of fruit leather]
1. Rinse the fruit. Set 2-3 apricots to the side (for fiber). Peel the rest. (* see directions at bottom).
2. Remove pits and roughly dice fruit (including the unpeeled apricots).
3. Place the diced apricots in a saucepan on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and lemon juice at a time, to desired level of sweetness. (I made 2 sheets of leather and used about 1/2 cup of bakers sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice).
4. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Allow mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes more.
5. Remove mixture from stove and puree in food processor/blender.
6. Cover a cookie sheet with plastic wrap. Pour the puree evenly onto the plastic wrap to 1/8" thickness. Make sure that none of the plastic wrap is folding over onto the puree.
7. Place on oven rack at lowest setting (ideally 150 degrees, but my oven only went down to 170). Prop oven open a wee bit with a wooden spoon so that air can circulate and dry it out.
8. Bake for 8-12 hours until the mixture dries out. (When the mixture stops being tacky to the touch and feels dry, it's done).
9. Slice leather into strips (I used a pizza cutter).Peel from plastic backing, roll it up in parchment paper and secure with a rubberband. Store in an airtight container.
* How to Peel Apricots Easily
1. Submerge apricots in boiling water for 20-25 seconds.
2. Remove and place in a bowl of ice water for 20-25 seconds
3. Gently slide skin off.