Sunday, October 28, 2012

Plum chai fruit leather

My friend Joe has an awesome (Italian?) plum tree, and brought in bags of beautiful plums to the offices this year. I forgot to take a picture, but they look something like this:

After eating just about as many fresh plums as I could, I decided it would be more worthwhile to preserve them somehow. I thought about canning and making a jam, but I didn't want to deal with sterilization and I'm a bit busy on the weekends. However, I follow a blog called 17 apart, and I've been ogling their take on fruit leather for weeks. What a perfect opportunity with nice ripe plums that might not be eaten in time! Unfortunately I didn't have any other fruit to mix with the plums, and for some reason plain plum "fruit roll-ups" didn't appeal to me. I found this recipe for Chai tea plum fruit leather, and I knew it was the one.

I washed and sliced the plums into quarters and brewed about 2 cups of fresh chai tea (from Market Spice here in Seattle). After adding the plums I realized that I needed more water, so I put more tea in my tea infuser and placed it directly in the pot with more water. I was hoping that it would give the plums a stronger chai flavor.

After about an hour of reducing, I added ~2 tablespoons of honey, and let the mixture cool.

I pureed the mixture in my Ninja (very convenient blending machine) and prepared a cookie sheet layered with parchment paper. After pouring the jam-like mixture and spreading it on the cookie sheet, I noticed that it was a bit uneven. I found the perfect technique for getting the mixture to even out in the pan was shaking it back and forth, probably not proper technique but it did the job. Unfortunately even after cutting down the parchment paper to fit the pan, it still folded over and into the sticky fruit mixture! It was SO annoying. Even after clamping most of the sides down with binder clips (which raised the parchment paper up, ugh), I decided it was good enough.

I also realized that I had too much for just one cookie sheet, so I decided to use our extra pizza pan; I was feeling wild and annoyed with the parchment paper so I didn't put down any parchment paper *gasp*. I set the first pan in the warming drawer of our oven overnight (~9 hours), after I tested the temperature using a pyrex filled with water (~140 degrees F). The second sheet I put in the oven, turned it on for ~10 minutes to 350, then turned it off.

The next morning I rolled up the sheet with parchment paper that was in the warming drawer and sliced it into little fruit-roll up like rolls. It's possible that it was too dry - the edges that were thinner were a little crunchy, and the center very chewy. When I took the pizza pan sheet out, the center wasn't quite set, so I put it in the warming drawer for about another 2 hours, then took it out and let it cool. I was really nervous that I wouldn't be able to get the sheet of leather off of the pan, but it actually peeled back perfectly! I stuck it on some parchment paper and rolled it up, and it was the perfect texture and consistency! They were delicious, and stored well in the fridge for a month. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the finished product! Overall, definitely worth the effort.

1 comment:

Benjamin Leipzig said...

Definetly a YuM YUM snack and so delicious and healthy. absolutely a do again recipe!!!!!