Fruit Roll-Ups · GF (16 squares or 19 strips)
Don’t let the word “fruit” fool you, this is not a recipe for healthy, high fiber new age fruit leather. If you want full-fiber, no sugar added fruit snack, this recipe will probably crush your soul. No fiber, loads of added sugar, corn syrup and fat. This isn’t a health food, it’s something way more fun: dessert.
I’ve railed about the difference between the Fruit Roll-Ups of our childhood and the pragmatic fruit leather of adulthood on Serious Eats, so I won’t get into it here. But the key differences: perfect smoothness unadulterated by seeds or skins and an intensely fruity, sweet taste.
At the restaurant, I pair a strawberry version with French Strawberry Ice Cream, for a strawberry squared flavor and addicting textural contrast between the creamy ice cream and chewy roll-up.
You can make these into any flavor by substituting the freeze dried strawberries with another freeze dried fruit. Just don’t change the base of dried apples or pears, both have a neutral profile and mild sweetness that make them the ideal blank canvass to showcase the flavor of the freeze dried fruit.
Homemade Fruit Roll Ups
12 ounces dried pears or dried apples
24 ounces apple juice, divided
12 ounces sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces corn syrup
1.2 ounces (1 bag) freeze dried strawberries or other freeze dried fruit
1 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce coconut oil, or other neutral flavored oil
1/2 teaspoon rose flower water
optional: a few drops of food coloring
Roughly chop the dried apples or pears and combine them in a medium pot along with half the apple juice (12 ounces), sugar, salt and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture beings to simmer. Continue cooking until the fruit has become plump and tender and the mixture looks quite dry.
Meanwhile, grind the freeze dried strawberries in a food processor until reduced to a powder.
When the fruit has finished cooking, add it into the food processor Pulse until chunky. Add the remaining twelve ounces of apple juice along with the lemon juice, coconut oil, rose flower water. Processes continuously until the mixture has become quite smooth and no large chunks remain. Add a touch of food coloring, if you like.
Run the mixture through a food mill or press through a sieve; this improves the texture substantially and also allows the roll-ups to be cut into clean shapes. Without sieving, the shapes will have ragged edges. Reserve any solids that don’t pass through (about 3 ounces) to use as a jam, ice cream topping, or a mix-in for muffins.
Preheat the oven to between 150°-175° F. (Why are ovens so wacky? My oven at work goes down to 150° but my oven at home only goes to 175°; meanwhile, my parents oven has a 100° setting for warming, but that’s too low.)
Line two sheet pans with silicon mats. I’ve read microwave-safe plastic wrap is safe to use at this low temperature, but I haven’t tested it personally; it’s your call. Pour half the fruit mixture into each and spread into an even, thin layer.
Dry roll-ups in the oven for 6 to 10 hours. The exact time depends on your oven temperature and your roll-up preferences. For a more tender, pâtes de fruit texture, aim for the low end. For a super chewy, authentic Fruit Roll-Up texture, you’ll somewhere between 8 and 10 hours.
At the very least, you want to dry the puree until neither sticky nor squishy when pressed firmly. You should be able to peel up a corner and tug gently without tearing. The drier the fruit feels, the tougher (chewier) it will be once cool.
When you’ve dried the puree out to your liking, remove the sheet pans from the oven and cool to room temperature. Use a knife to loosen the fruit sheets from the edges of the pan. Press a sheet of parchment or wax paper against the surface and invert onto a cutting board. Peel off the plastic wrap or silicon from the bottom.
If you want to make Fruit by the Foot, just cut each large sheet into 8 long strips.
For shaped “pull outs,” use the tip of a knife to gently score each sheet into 8 square portions (this will prevent you from stamping shapes that will accidentally get cut in half when you portion out the roll-ups). Next, use a cookie cutter to stamp various shapes, but do not remove them.
Next, whether you’re making pull outs or not, place a fresh sheet of plastic wrap over the exposed fruit. Use the tip of a chef’s knife to cut through the plastic wrap, fruit and parchment, dividing each fruit sheet into 8 squares. Either way, roll them up and store in an airtight container for about two weeks at room temperature or a month in the fridge.
Mar 29, 2012 · 10:05 PM
Gah, this is awesome – I love fruit roll-ups!! Next: gushers? (please… )
· Jessica · http://bakemeaway.wordpress.com
Mar 29, 2012 · 11:49 PM
@Jessica, don’t think for a moment that I dream of anything else. Gushers are my ultimate goal; I don’t know how to achieve them yet, but mark my words….someday.
Mar 30, 2012 · 1:17 PM
@Tesei, thanks so much! If kids are going to eat sweet snacks, isn’t homemade the best option?
Mar 30, 2012 · 2:05 PM
Aww, I love the cut-out idea!
· Kiri W. · http://www.healthyfoodietravels.net
Mar 30, 2012 · 2:16 PM
Fruit roll ups are the best!
· RavieNomNoms · http://ravienomnoms.wordpress.com/
Mar 30, 2012 · 5:06 PM
@Kiri, I am just obsessed with using my giraffe cutters as much as possible.
@RavieNomNoms, long live the roll-ups!!
Apr 01, 2012 · 9:33 AM
These are incredible! Bugger the sugar when you can produce this kind of magic. Brilliant, Stella!
· Jill Colonna · http://MadAboutMacarons.com
Apr 01, 2012 · 9:56 AM
I second the gushers request! But in the meantime, wow, these ‘fruit by the foot’ look awesome!
Apr 01, 2012 · 10:24 AM
@Julia, would you believe I literally dreamed about making Gushers last night? I dreamed I made the fruit roll-ups just like from this recipe and then I dried them, then pulled the sheets up and kneaded them like a bread dough. I used a bench scraper to portion them out and roll them into tiny balls. Then I used a syringe to inject them with a liquid filling. I dunno, it sounds like a semi-reasonable plan to me, lol. I clearly have it on the brain, looking forward to cracking the code.
@Jill, I mean, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be healthy, but that’s what breakfast, lunch and dinner are for. Keep those diets off my desserts!
Apr 01, 2012 · 5:26 PM
For gushers how bout this idea: make your fruit roll ups, but double the batch so you have two pans drying at the same time. When nearly dry, but still pliable, smear a goopy sweet filling onto one layer, spread it thickly, top with the entire second layer of fruit roll up and gently cut tiny squares out with a ravioli or pasta cutter. The cutter will seal the edges. Possible???
Apr 03, 2012 · 11:22 AM
so fun! And still probably better than the store bought variety
· Abby · http://www.seaweedandsassafras.com
Apr 03, 2012 · 5:13 PM
@Abby, they taste awesome, but the highlight for me is choosing the fun shapes to punch out.
Dec 05, 2012 · 9:09 AM
Hi luckylove! Well, I don’t have a dehydrator and have never used one, so I’m afraid I can’t say! There are lots of dehydrator recipes though, so you might be better off with a recipe designed to be made with one.