As stated in previous posts, I am loving all the fruit this summer. I can’t say it enough. I don’t know if I just forgot how good berries and cherries and melons were or if it’s the fact that we are consciously trying to eat more fresh fruit, but everything is just sooooo good this year. And as usual when the cherries show up in the store, I find myself standing in front of them, debating wether or not to spend the money and get some. Like, every. time. I will seriously stand, debate, put some in my cart, put them back, stand there some more, see if I can cut something else from my grocery list then resign myself to the fact that they are a little too pricey and slowly walk away. How sad is that?!? So when I found some gorgeous cherries at Braum’s (of all places!) on sale for a ridiculous price, I snatched them up.
Of course I initially wanted to eat all of them right away. But then I saw this recipe for fruit leather from Baked by Rachel and that was it–I KNEW what I was doing with those cherries. I was nervous since I’ve wanted to make fruit leather, gummies, etc before but have always been scared of leaving my oven on for 15 hours and not having it turn out and some people said it worked, some said it didn’t so I just never tried but this time I was going for it! Of course, I STILL put the leather in my oven a little too late in the evening for the five hours baking required and ended up waiting until 12:30 at night to pull it out of the oven. Yes, I’m 31 and that’s late for me. Anyway…
I pulled it out and knew immediately it wasn’t coming off the parchment paper. Ok, not to panic. Haha, yeah right, I totally panicked. And then I went to bed. That’s right, I went to bed and FORGOT about the fruit leather sitting on top of my stove. And you know what? It worked! Apparently setting the pans out in the open air overnight for about eight hours was the right thing to do because the next day I was able to slice and VERY GENTLY peel them off the parchment paper! Sweet! And wow, are these things amazing!!! Jeremy loves them, I love them and my niece and nephew love them (and the kid test is the true test if you ask me). I totally plan on making them again but trying a different fruit and subbing sucanat for the sugar so they are a little more healthy.
- 5 c. Dark Bing Cherries, pitted
- ¼ c. plus 1 T. Water
- ⅓ c. plus 2 T. Sugar in the Raw (or granulated sugar which is what the original recipe calls for)
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large saucepan, combine cherries and water and bring to a boil over high heat, cooking and stirring until all the cherries are soft and have broken down a bit. It will take about 8-10 minutes.
- Transfer to a blender and blend until completely smooth (mine had the tiniest pieces of cherry left in it and I actually loved it). Return to saucepan, add sugar and cook over medium-low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Divide mixture evenly between the two baking sheets. Use an offset spatula or the back of a large wooden spoon to spread the mixture as evenly and thin as possible without the white of the parchment paper coming though. Spots that are not thin enough, may not cook/dry completely (I had one small spot like that but it wasn’t a big deal).
- Bake in the oven, rotating pans every hour for 5 hours or until just slightly tacky. Remove from oven and let air dry on the baking sheets for at least 8 hours.
- With the parchment paper, lift and move the fruit leather sheets onto a cutting board. Using a pizza slicer (or extremely sharp knife), cut the sheets into 6 strips each (for a total of 12 strips). Starting at the edge of one sheet, gently peel the leather away from the parchment and roll up. Wrap a piece of parchment around each roll-up and secure with string or tape. Store in an air-tight container.