My South African friend Erna introduced me to the best thing I ever ate. I still dream about it sometimes. Of course you cannot get it in Germany, neither in the US, they are abundant around Cape Town though – Guava Fruit Roll Ups. So guys, we will be making fruit roll ups or fruit leather! I told you about this old candy making book when I made the sugar fondant, you can find a copy on candymaking.net (thank you public domain!). Mrs. Harding’s Twentieth Century Cookbook was printed in 1921. There is something heart warming and nostalgic about vintage cookbooks. The language used and the methods and ingredients described really reflect on the time and give a glimpse into daily life back in the days – I usually think it must have been better back in the days – but really they were cooking over actual fire, so how much easier could it have been?
But enough with the philosophic thoughts and back to the business of fruit leather making – the old fashioned style. Old fashioned for the most part means that we will get the fruit pulp dry in the hot sun for 1-2 days, no oven required. This means that we will be building a
high tech make shift contraption to let it sun dry bug free. It involves good weather (sorry Europe), rocks, cans and mosquito netting – are you smirking yet? Good! We need good spirits to get this show on the road and over the finish line! Let’s do this!
Old fashioned sun-dried peach fruit leather
- 500g (1 pound) fruit
- 100g to 125 g (1/4 pound) sugar
- Cut, core and peel the fruit. Over medium heat cook the fruit and sugar, mashing it with a potato masher into a puree.
- Cook the mixture until really thick and spreadable (about 30 minutes).
- Butter a large cutting board or cookie sheet.
- Pour the fruit pulp onto the board and spread with an off set spatula (3-4 mm thick).
- Cover your board with mosquito netting (I used cans to prop up the net and rocks to hold it down - did I mention we are going old school with this?!). Tuck the edges underneath if you can. This will keep ants and other bugs away.
- Let your fruit spread dry in the sun for up to 2 days until it is dry to the touch. If you do 2 days like I did, take it inside over night to avoid condensation moisture.
- Cut the dried fruit leather into strips using a pizza cutter and sprinkle with sugar. Using your off-set spatula again scrape the leather off the board (thicker areas will go easier, very thin areas will go harder or break, but that's ok, it's handmade!).
- Roll up the fruit leather if you like, or leave as a sheet. Store in an air tight container and according to Mrs. Harding this will keep indefinitely...
I also made a step-by-step image guide, really just to show you my funky contraption and give you confidence that you too can look ridiculous in the eyes of your neighbors 😉
When the weatherman predicts the next hot and sunny streak, please try this!