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Peachy Pumpkin Craisin Fruit Leather ~ Gourmet Edition

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I was inspired to make this fruit leather as I opened my pantry and peered into my tea drawer.  Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea sounded warm and inviting so I made myself a nice mug of it, that is when the light bulb went off!  This tea is a perfect balance of all your favorite holiday spices including pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. So why not make a fruit leather infused with this tasty tea?!  I couldn’t find a reason not to so I dove right in.  I didn’t use steeped tea, I literally opened the tea bags and dumped the contents right into my fruit leather puree.  It turned out perfect.  I hope you give it a try.

My husband and I shared a bag full of these leathers with two excavators who are doing some driveway work for us.  They have been working here for the past few days and my husband keeps them fueled with the pear fruit leathers, but yesterday we opened the freezer and gave them a choice. They said they just had to see what Peach Pumpkin Craisin Fruit Leather tasted like.  So we sent them home with a baggie filled with them.  The next morning they returned to do some more work and they reported that they LOVED the fruit leather.  They ate it all !  They said that they would have never thought that pumpkin and pear would have gone together but it did.

Ingredients: yields 5 cups puree

  • 5 cups sliced peaches
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds, ground (add with craisins )
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 bag Pumpkin spice chai tea
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 /2 cup craisins (see #5)
Preparation:
  1. Select RIPE or slightly overripe peaches that have reached a peak in color, texture, and flavor.
  2. Prepare the peaches; wash, dry, and remove stones.
  3. Pumpkin puree – you can blend your own with fresh sugar pumpkins or you can use canned, organic puree.
  4. Puree the peaches,pumpkin puree, chia seeds, vanilla, tea contents and salt, in the blender or food processor until smooth.  Taste and sweeten more if needed.  Keep in mind that flavors will intensify as they dehydrate.  When adding a sweetener do so 1 tbsp at a time, and reblend, tasting until it is at the desired taste.  It is best to use a liquid type sweetener.  Don’t use a granulated sugar because it tends to change the texture.  
  5. Add the craisins and blend for 40 seconds,
  6. Allow the puree to rest for at least 10 minutes to give the chia time to work its thickening magic.
  7. Spread the fruit puree on teflex sheets that come with your dehydrator.  Pour the puree to create an even depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch.  If you don’t have teflex sheets for the trays, you can line your trays with plastic wrap or parchment paper.  Do not use wax paper or aluminum foil.
    • Lightly coat the food dehydrator plastic sheets or wrap with a cooking spray, I use coconut oil that comes in a spray.
    • When spreading the puree on the liner, allow about an inch of space between the mixture and the outside edge.  The fruit leather mixture will spread out as it dries, so it needs a little room to allow for this expansion.
    • Be sure to spread the puree evenly on your drying tray.  When spreading the puree mixture, try tilting and shaking the tray to help it distribute more evenly.  Also, it is a good idea to rotate your trays throughout the drying period.  This will help assure that the leathers dry evenly.
  8. Dehydrate the fruit leather at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour, reduce temp to 105 degrees (F) and continue drying for about 4 hours.
    Transfer the semi-dried banana chips onto the leather, gently pressing them in.  Continue drying for about 4-6 hours or until done.  Flip the leather over about half way through, remove the teflex sheet and continue drying on the mesh sheet.  Finished consistency should be pliable and easy to roll.
    • Check for dark spots on top of the fruit leather.  If dark spots can be seen it is a sign that it is not completely dry.
    • Press down on the fruit leather with a finger.  If no indentation is visible or if it is no longer tacky to the touch, the fruit leather is dry and can be removed from the dehydrator.
    • Peel the leather from the dehydrator trays or parchment paper. If it peels away easily and holds its shape after peeling, it is dry. If it is still sticking or loses its shape after peeling, it needs further drying.
    • Under-dried fruit leather will not keep; it will mold.  Over-dried fruit leather will become hard and crack, although it will still be edible and will keep for a long time
  9. Storage: to store the finished fruit leather…
    • Allow the leather to cool before wrapping up to avoid moisture from forming, thus giving it a breeding ground for molds.
    • Roll them up and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
    • Place in an air-tight container, and store in a dry, dark place. (Light will cause the fruit leather to discolor.)  The fruit leather will keep at room temperature for one month, or in a freezer for up to one year
  10. To make the best peach recipes, you need to start the best peaches… here is how.


At the grocery store or fruit stand:

  • Look for peaches that are “tree ripened” or “California Well Mature.”  This will mean that the peaches reached their maturity before being picked.
  • Pay attention to how your supermarket stores peaches.  Supermarkets should store peaches in open bins, not in the cold section.

Now make your selection:

  • When selecting peaches, look for those that are well-rounded, with shades of deep yellow skin coloring under a red blush.
  • Ripe peaches will yield to gentle pressure, particularly along the seam, and give off a sweet fragrance.
  • Peaches selected when they are brightly colored but firm to moderately hard will ripen in two to three days at room temperature.
  • Avoid peaches that are stored cold, are rock hard, green, or mushy, or have shriveled skins,  because they will never ripen properly or taste good.

Once at home:

  • At home, store peaches on the counter at room temperature until ripe.
  • To quicken the ripening process, place peaches in a paper bag until fully ripe.  Adding ethylene-producing fruit like bananas and apples to the paper bag will further accelerate the ripening process.
  • When ripe, peaches should be stored in the refrigerator until eaten, but only for a couple of days because the cold storage will reduce their juice and flavor.
  • Before eating peaches, wash them in cool water and dry with a paper towel or soft cloth to remove the remaining fuzz.  Most of the fuzz should be already removed by the commercial washing process.

 

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