Summer Cherry and Apple Fruit Leather

Makes: 6-8 strips
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes on the stove, then 6-7 hours in the oven
5 small peeled and chopped sweet apples like Galas
1 cup pitted ripe cherries

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and line a rimmed 12 x 18 baking sheet with the silicone mat.

2. Put the apples, cherries and 1/4 cup of water into a pot and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the apples are soft. I find that putting the lid on the pot between stirring helps to soften the apples more quickly and keeps the fruit from drying out. Put the fruit into a blender and puree until smooth then pour out onto the baking tray.

3. Use a spatula to smooth the fruit puree out evenly over the tray almost to the edges of the mat. It should be just under a quarter inch thick. Use your spatula to push the sides in a little, all the way around, so that the edges aren’t too thin. Try to even out any thin areas with your spatula or wiggle the whole tray to help make sure the puree is evenly distributed.

4. Bake in the center rack in the oven for 6-7 hours. When done, the fruit leather will be dry to the touch. You may notice you still have a couple of small, slightly sticky areas and that is just fine. While the fruit leather is drying in the oven, I usually go about my day, then start checking the fruit leather at the 6 hour mark. Because all fruit has different water and sugar content, every time you make this you will find a slight variation in the cooking time, but 6-7 hours should be about right.
5. Allow to cool on the mat, then cut into strips and keep in a sealed container. If you’ve found that you’ve left the fruit leather in a bit long, and it is a bit too crispy, you can brush it lightly with water to soften it, or you can just leave it in a sealed container for a day or so to soften up. This fruit leather gets better with time and lasts for about a month. Of course, once your kids try it, it will never, ever last that long!