We went apple picking last week and picked tons of apples. Quite a few are a bit too tart to eat out of hand so I decided to make some fruit leather to make the most of them and it has been a hit. I use the dehydrate setting on my oven, use a dehydrator if you have one, or just set your oven to about 175 degrees and wait for the magic to happen.
Ingredients for step one:
1 kilogram apples, cored and diced but skins on
12 dried apricots (add these if your apples are tart, if they are sweet you can leave them out)
1/2 cup of liquid – water, apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
Combine the four ingredients in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot and cook covered over medium heat until the apples are soft. This takes about 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and puree the apples and apricots. I use a food mill for this but you can easily use a hand blender or regular blender. Return the apple sauce to the pot and over low heat, reduce the sauce until you have about 2 1/2 cups. You can dehydrate this sauce or add extra flavours:
Ingredients for step two:
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp of ground vanilla bean (I buy this at a well stocked grocery store with a great natural foods section. If you cannot find it, vanilla extract would also impart a nice flavour)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
Add the salt, cardamom and vanilla bean to the apple sauce and stir well to distribute evenly. Prepare two sheet pans with parchment or silicone non-stick baking liners (I use silpat liners) and spread about 1 1/4 cups of the sauce in an even layer on each baking sheet. Sprinkle the chia seeds over the top and put in the oven to dehydrate. Dehydration is a slow process so be patient. I check every hour or so to see how the fruit leather is forming. You know it is ready to come out of the oven when you can peel it up at the corner and it is generally dry looking on the surface.
Remove the leather from the oven and get two sheets of waxed paper ready. Peel the fruit leather up and lay it down, sticky side down (that will be the side that was face down on the baking sheet). Roll it up and slice into portions. This keeps in an air tight container at room temperature for a few weeks. Yields about 18 pieces.