Thursday, 30 January 2014

Plum fruit leather recipe

I've created this recipe for a South African stone fruit supper club tonight. Fruit leather is a healthy snack for adults and particularly children, a great lunch box standby, but purer than the shop bought fruit rolls. It's pretty easy to make, just takes a few hours in a low oven.
I'm using FlavorKing plums which have the reputation of tasting like bubble gum. I can confirm that, the plum has an extraordinary bubble gum aftertaste. We all recognise that flavour but what is it? What is the flavour of bubble gum? It's a secret recipe that contains chemicals such as ethyl methylphenylglycidateisoamyl acetate (responsible for the distinctive flavour of pear drops) and fruit extracts, possibly plum?
In February I'm going out to South Africa to meet the growers, so I will hopefully find out more. 

My menu for tonight:
Peach nectar Bellini cocktail

Mushroom and tofu gyoza, steamed with plum sauce
Plum 'sushi'

Mini bunny chow (a typical South African street food) with peach curry
White flesh nectarine, almond, mint, burrata salad

Cod with plum soba noodles and Georgian Tkemali yellow plum sauce

Cheeses with Flavorking bubblegum plum fruit leather and nectarine chutney

Towering pav with stone fruit
Yellow flesh Nectarine tarts
Chocolate galette tart with yellow plums

 or plum clafoutis

Some of these recipes will be coming up on the blog in the forthcoming weeks.

Plum fruit leather recipe:

1 kilo of plums, stoned
4 tbsps of sugar, honey or agave nectar
Juice of half a lemon

I am lucky enough to have a very powerful blender, a Vitamix, which meant that I didn't have to skin the plums. Otherwise, make crosses on the top of each plum, with a knife, and leave them for 30 seconds in boiling water. The skin should come off easily. Remove the stones.
With a powerful blender, pulse the flesh, then add agave nectar and lemon juice. You can use sugar but honey or agave means that there is less chance of crystallisation than with sugar.
Strain the pulp so that there is less juice. I did two sheets of 'leather' one that was strained and one that was not.
The unstrained leather was more textural and less smooth but both worked fine. It depends on the fruit. Some fruits have a great deal of juice so you'd want to strain that out, otherwise you could be drying out the leather for days.
Preheat the oven to 100ºc.
Then prepare a flat baking tray with a silpat silicone mat.
With a spatula, spread out the plum purée to about 1/4 inch or 1/2 cm thick. You want it thin enough to dry out but not so thin that you do not have a 'rollable' leather. So make sure you can't see through the purée and remember it will contract as it dries.
I put the fruit in a low oven, 100ºc for several hours. I kept checking hourly. It's hard to say exactly how long it will take but you could put it in for 2 or 3 hours on 100ºc then turn the oven off and leave it overnight to dry out. 
When it's sufficiently dried out, carefully peel the leather off the silicone sheet and place it onto parchment paper. Cut it into strips and roll it.

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