Now what can these be? I have had a few tentative guesses…….Christmas decorations, fly papers, raspberry and meringue strips…actually they are fruit leathers! Deliciously chewy and fruity snacks, they are fun to make and children will love them. There are some similar sweets you can buy for children but they are very sweet and come in very violent colours which are unlikely to have come from any fruit known to man. I made these from windfall apples and foraged blackberries (I had some in the freezer as you are always reluctant to stop picking once you start-generally there are some here) and so they cost next to nothing to make. Here are the recipes for Apple leather an also some Apple with Bramble leather. I’m going to experiment with some of the more exotic fruits that you can buy tinned ie mango and apricots. Just buy the ones in fruit juice and not in syrup which would be quite sweet. Liqudise them using just enough of the juice and then pour into your tray. If you over do the water heat the puree up and cook until the water evaporates. Later in the year I’m going to use my redcurrants and blackcurrants to make more ‘tangy’ versions-like the brambles you would need to put the fruit through a sieve first to remove the pips
Approx. 600g Bramley apples*
A little water i.e. 6tbsp
A little sugar to taste.
1. Peel and core the apples. Cook in a pan with a little water and the sugar until they are soft and ‘fall’. Try to use as little water as possible.
2. Cook gently until it is thick-it should be thick enough for you to make a line with a wooden spoon on the base of the pan (although it will run back immediately). Taste and add more sugar if you prefer. Simmer it gently if you think it is too runny.
3. Base line a small baking tray (20cm x 30cm), with a lip, with silicone baking paper which sturdier than just plain greaseproof paper. I used the reusable baking paper which was ideal. (if there is a good non stick finish that would be ok without lining.
4. Pour the puree in-it should be about 8mm thick-if thicker it just takes longer to dry.
5. Put the tray in a very low oven (50C) until dry or leave in a warm place lightly covered. You can even leave it, covered,in the sunshine. If you have a range type cooker such as an Aga/Rangemaster you can leave the tray on top of the silver plates.
6. When dry to touch peel away the paper. Cut into ribbons. These will store a while in an airtight jar but if you leave them anywhere damp they will go sticky again.
*I used Bramley apples because they ‘fall’ when you cook them to make, almost, a puree. Other apples don’t do this and so you would need to push them through a sieve before you used them.
APPLE AND BRAMBLE LEATHER
Small handful of brambles
Approx. 500g Bramley apples
Water and sugar
1. Gently cook the brambles-use only a very small amount of water. Take off the heat, leave to cool and then push through a sieve. Leave on one side.
2. Prepare and cook the apple as above and mix in the bramble puree – you may need to increase the amount of sugar but do a little at a time and taste as you go along.
3. As above