Ever since the Accidental Locavore was a kid, I’ve always loved dried apricots in any form, especially as leather, or fruit roll-ups. I saw a recipe for some fruit leather recently and then found some beautiful ripe apricots at the market. Add to that a cool rainy day and I went to work. While this requires little time or effort to put together, it does require a long time in a low oven. If you don’t like leaving the house when the oven is on, either do it overnight or on a day when you’ll be around for a good 8 hours. This made 1 sheet tray of goodness:
- 1 1/2 pounds apricots, pitted and coarsely chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Sugar to taste
- 1/4 cup water
Preheat your oven to its lowest setting (mine was 150) and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a sheet pan with a Silpat or parchment paper (do not use waxed paper!).
In a medium saucepan, bring the fruit, lime juice, and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the fruit begins to break down, add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste the mixture to determine if it is sweet enough. If not, add more sugar.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the fruit mixture for 10 minutes.
Puree the cooked fruit in a blender or food processor until smooth, about a minute. Pour the purée in a thin layer on the Silpat and spread evenly with an offset spatula or back of a spoon, leaving an inch around the edges.
Bake for 4- 8 hours, depending on how hot the lowest setting on your oven is, until the leather is mostly dried but just slightly tacky to touch. When it’s cool enough to work with, peel the entire sheet of leather off the Silpat and lay it on the same sized sheet of waxed paper, or parchment paper, before cutting into strips and rolling up; if using parchment, do not remove the leather, and cut into strips then roll up. Eat and enjoy, or store in an airtight container!
My verdict: I forgot how good this stuff is! I need to find out if I can freeze it, or some other way of preserving it, so I can make a big bunch of it now while the apricots are in season and break it out later in the year. Mine took much longer than 8 hours to dry out. Part of that was that it was a little thick in the center and wasn’t drying out enough. Next time, I’ll definitely watch the thickness, but it was pretty forgiving and I just kept popping it back in the oven for another hour or so until it was all done. I did mine on a Silpat and then transferred it to parchment paper (mainly because I seemed to be out of waxed paper). Probably easier to just make it on the parchment – one less step and less to clean up. Try this with your favorite fruit, you’ll really love it!