Roasting Stone Fruit for Leathers Brings out the Sweetness
Fruit leather is a chewy, dried fruit product, much like Fruit Roll-ups, that you can make at home with your dehydrator. Fruit leathers are made by pouring puréed fruit onto a flat surface for drying. When dried, the fruit is pulled from the surface and rolled. It gets the name “leather” from the fact that when puréed fruit is dried, it is shiny and has the texture of leather. Loved by kids of all ages, these are easy to make and quite tasty!
Roasting concentrates a fruit’s natural sugars, deepening the flavor of the fruit and making under-ripe specimens sweeter. If you have a large crop of stone fruit like peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries, or plums, this is a great recipe to make. Figs, grapes, apples, pears, quinces, and persimmons also all make excellent roasting candidates.
To buy peaches for this recipe, 1 pound peaches = 2 large or 3 medium peaches = 2 cups peeled and cubed, chopped, or sliced peaches.
To learn about making fruit leathers in general, see Fruit Roll Ups Recipe.
For hacks to keep your leathers from sticking, see Food Stuck to Dehydrator Trays?
To make Fruit Leather in your oven, see Making Fruit Leathers in Your Oven.
To handle cracks and buckles in your Fruit Leathers, see Cracks in Your Fruit Leathers?
Roasted Peach Fruit Leather
This recipe makes:
3 full fruit leather trays for Excalibur-type dehydrators (box-shaped) or
4 full 15-inch fruit leather trays for Nesco-type dehydrators (round-shaped)
3 pounds ripe sweet peaches
1/4 cup chopped, pitted dates, or to taste*
1 tablespoon lemon juice
- To roast fruit: Wash peaches, cut in half and discard pits. A melon baller helps to easily remove stubborn pits.
- Place on a large baking sheet cut-side-up keeping them them in a single layer.
- Bake at 400˚F/200˚C for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until just warm enough to handle.
- Remove peels and set aside to dehydrate for peach peel powder.
- Puree fruit: In a blender or food processor, purée 1/4 cup pitted dates with 2 tablespoons – 1/4 cup hot water until a thick paste is made.
- Transfer peaches to the blender or food processor while still warm and process until a smooth purée has been achieved. Add in lemon juice.
- Fruit leathers can be poured into a single large sheet (13″ X 15″) or into several smaller sizes. Spread purée evenly, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick, onto solid drying tray or line rimmed bare trays with a good grade of parchment paper. An offset spatula will help with evenness. Tamp the trays lightly on the countertop to help even out as well.
- Avoid pouring purée too close to the edge of the trays. The larger fruit leathers take longer to dry. Approximate drying times are 6 to 8 hours in a dehydrator, up to 18 hours in an oven.
- Dry fruit leathers at 140°F/60°C. Flip the leathers halfway through to speed drying. Leather dries from the outside edge toward the center. Test for dryness by touching center of leather; no indentation should be evident.
- While warm, peel from trays and roll, allow to cool. Rewrap the roll in plastic or parchment after cutting with a pizza cutter or kitchen scissors. Cookie cutters are used to cut out shapes that children will enjoy.
*Note: honey, corn syrup, or maple syrup can be substituted for the date paste.
Store in an airtight container. Chances are the fruit leather will not last long enough for storage. If it does, it will keep up to 1 month at room temperature.
For storage up to 1 year, place tightly wrapped rolls in the freezer.
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