This week I've ambitiously attempted fruit leathers without using a dehydrator. I have an old one, the trays are a like a donut rack, so would be disastrous for these. While a new dehydrator is on my pending birthday wish list, I've had these on the brain - victory or not, they had to be made. I've included coconut cream to give them a tropical, summery feel - this could easily be replaced with an unsweetened natural yogurt, or neither. Once you have the consistency right (that of baby puree), any combination of fruits and vegetables would work. If you use a fruit that needs to be cooked first, i.e carrot or apple, ensure you steam it rather than boil, not only will this ensure the nutrients are locked in, you'll add less moisture to the mixture.
These are incredibly delicious and batch after batch have been devoured by both Max and Finn. Best of all, I know exactly what is in these, they are free of refined sugar, gluten and dairy and the added sweetener is natural and minimal.These are great to have on hand, for morning or afternoon treats, to pop in lunch boxes, or to sneak a few for yourself...
2 large apples, I used royal gala
1 cup frozen organic raspberries
2 tbsp agave - maple, honey or barley syrup would also work
1/2 cup coconut cream, from the top of the can
1 tsp vanilla essence
Peel and chop apples, steam for five minutes or until soft through.
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until combined and smooth.
Taste to ensure it is to your liking, adding a little more sweetener if you feel it is needed.
Line a baking tray (approx. 43x29cm and ideally with small sides) with baking paper.
Pour 1/2 of the mixture onto the tray and evenly spread out with a spatula or the back of a knife.
The mixture needs to be as thin as possible and very even, 1-2mm thick with no gaps, pour on more liquid as needed or place the remaining mixture onto a second tray and repeat.
Turn your oven on, most ovens (in my short amount of research!) start at 50 degrees, if you listen, you will hopefully notice that your oven fans come on before you get to 50, ideally you want around 35 degrees.
Place tray/s into oven and leave for up to 8 hours, checking at around 5 hours and then again every hour.
Timing will vary depending on your oven, you might find they take 10 or 12 hours.
When dry to touch remove from the oven.
Starting with a short edge, gently lift the leather from the paper along the entire edge, you might need to use the blunt side of a knife to lift an edge. When you have the entire edge lifted, flip the leather over (paper side up) onto a board and slowly pull the paper close to the leather along the width.
Slice into preferred size (I found a pizza knife worked best!) and roll loosely.
Place in an airtight container.
Makes approx. 24 leathers 2cm x 14cm