I have never made fruit leather before, and was a little unsure on how to go about doing it. I saw a few recipes online where it was just fruit thrown in a blender and voila, fruit leather. I wanted to cook it down with spices and vanilla and see how it turned out. Turns out – I almost know what I’m doing. I made clean eating candy.
I never would have thought I would have been so excited to make fruit leather, it was kind of the disapointing snack your mom would buy as a kid (unless we’re talking Fruit Roll Ups – I loved those). Regardless, I wanted to use up the pears from my pear tree without making tarts (and other sugary desserts, that with the fact that I don’t can, I kind of felt like I was low on options (I’m not familiar with pears). Since I made the fruit leather I have made Pear Butter and Healthy Pear Muffins, and I may have a whole new appreciation for the fruit.
First things first, I had the monotonous task of washing, coring and peeling. It didn’t take too long, but it’s definitely not a fun job. Prep work is always the worst part of cooking. I cut up 10-11 pears, just enough for eight cups.
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere! At this point in the process my house began to smell amazing. I added my pears, honey, cinnamon and vanilla and cooked on medium height. After ten minutes, I came back to check on it and was surprised with how much water was in the pan (duh – the pears) so I have reduced the amount for the actual recipe below. I cooked this on the stove for about a half hour, stirring once in a while. I kept it going until there was very little liquid left over. I then put it aside to cool down for a bit and then pureed it in my blender until it was a lot like a pear sauce.
This recipe made enough for a 9×13 glass Pyrex pan dish another cookie sheet. I sprayed the glass dish and the cookie sheet with non stick cooking spray and then put down parchment paper. I highly recommend doing that because otherwise the paper will lift and not stick properly in the corners.
Divide the puree between the two dishes (this is where I made a mistake, I put more in the glass dish then the pan) and pop in the oven at 180 degrees. 180 is the lowest setting my oven will go to, I read that 140 is ideal.
Now you wait…for many many hours. Enjoy the fact that your house is smelling divine.
The fruit leather that finished first was the one I placed on the cookie sheet. This one is really thin and it was in the oven for 3 1/2 hours. I made it too thin. I didn’t want it to dry out and be super hard, so I rolled it up with the parchment paper thinking it would help. It’s almost like I know what I’m doing.
The one in the pyrex dish took a lot longer, I put it in at 1:45 and I believe it was taken out around 7. I then took a pizza cutter and sliced it up. I am well aware that it looks like turkey bacon, don’t let your eyes fool you – it’s delicious.
- 8 cups chopped pears (peeled)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees (or the lowest setting possible).
- Place a large pan over medium high heat and add all of your ingredients. Stirring often, cook down until there is very little to no liquid.
- Let cool for a few minutes.
- Place in a blender or food processor and puree.
- Spray two casserole dishes/cookie sheets with non stick cooking spray and lay parchment paper down.
- Divide the puree between the two baking sheets and throw in the oven.
- Depending on how thin the puree is let the fruit leather bake for 3-8+ hours. It will be ready when it's dry and no longer "goopy". Use your judgement.
- Run a pizza cutter through it to cut and store in an air tight container, or wrap with saran wrap.