The fruit leather is the byproduct of the silky sumptuous tart coulis.
I was a single parent when my second child was born. I left. It was terrible and sad, yet a relief at the same time. I did love my husband when I left him, but didn’t want to parent him any more. It took years and years for me to forgive myself for marrying a man who surrendered himself when he came in the door every night. I should have known better. He was so hurt. I was so hurt. The children would be forever changed. But, things would only get worse and I needed to leave. It was the best thing I did for all of us under those circumstances; however, the children, now two lovely adult women, have forever been affected by growing up in a home without a father. I didn’t remarry for twenty two years.
As a single mom, I became very independent. I built a fruit drier out of pine. It had a false back made of peg board and 8 screened trays. It took 2 days to make and used a car engine heater to generate the heat for drying the fruit. I used it hundreds of times through the early years of my life with my daughters as I gardened and canned and did whatever I could to make nutritious, delicious, and economical food for them. Fruit leather is a by product of canning fruit each fall. All kinds of fruit. It has been twenty five years since I have made it. I never added sugar, only the over ripe portions of the fruit that I couldn’t preserve and made sheets and sheets of it, just like this, that would last through the winter. We all loved it.
It was only much later in life that I learned how terrible it was for children’s teeth. “Worse that candy.” a dentist told me, as it would stick to their little teeth. Fortunately, we brushed often, but I was surprised. That was in the time of the dinosaur: the early 80’s, before the information age!
So, when I finished making the black currant coulis and there was a thick fruity paste with so much life left in it, I could not throw it out. Fruit leather it would be.
I had so many bags of frozen currants still in the deep freeze which will never happen again. I got them out to prepare a coulis for a sorbet I planned to add to the wedding ice bowl of ice cream balls. I knew five bags was far more than I needed, but decided to freeze some to use later. This is a time consuming process, so bigger batches make sense. The berries below have been frozen, yet look like they were just picked!
I had two batches for the Thermomix. I had read recipes everywhere and have tried many in the past which were far too sweet. So, I added very little water and very little sugar, then simmered the berries on a low heat until the sugar melted and the juice emerged. This would keep more nutrients in the berries. When the time was up, I puréed them, and poured each mixture into the tami, one at a time.
This was the time consuming part. I used a flat edged hand spatula to push the purée through the screen and it took a very long time. I took breaks and did other things and came back to it. So, it took me about two hours. If you were going to force this through the tami non-stop, it would probably take 30 minutes of good hard work.
You can clearly see the “fruit sludge” left in the tami that could not go to waste! The black currant coulis was uncharacteristically thick for a coulis without anything added to it. It was as smooth as silk and one of the most delicious concoctions I have ever eaten. That flavour and texture was worth every minute spent over the tami working the purée through the screen. Oh, my, oh my, oh my!
The fruit leather was easy enough to make. Spread on a parchment paper on an upside down cookie sheet and in the oven at 170°F. I thought it would take much longer to dry, and I do have a drier setting on my oven that I have never used. it took about 3 hours: two hours on one side, and one hour on the other. There was also 12 cups of the coulis!
With all the little seeds in this leather, it is very good for the digestive system, no doubt!
Because these berries are so dark, it was very difficult to take photos with depth where you could see the texture and lustre of this mixture.
I was so delighted to note that this was the perfect sugar to berry combination for my palate. It was tart, but no different than the tartness of the Cassis Sorbet at Berthillon in Paris. It was at this point that I also realized that the freezing point of the sorbet would not hold its shape in the ice cream bowl and that, though I would definitely be making sorbet with this coulis, I would not be making it for the wedding brunch.
I kept 2 cups of the coulis aside for a gelée layer that I was adding to a Cassis Mascarpone Roulade I was about to make with some of my homemade Mascarpone cheese (not yet posted). I also kept 2 cups aside for some sorbet, and froze the rest in 1/2 cup portions. They would thaw faster in this size.
At this point, to make the sorbet, just take a litre of the ice cold coulis and follow the instructions on your ice cream maker. You will have a sorbet as above: desirable, delectable and deliriously delicious.
Black Currant Coulis or Sorbet Recipe
- 8 cups frozen currants about 5 bags
- 1 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
Place all ingredients in the TM bowl for 20 minutes, at 80°C on R 2-3
After 20 minutes, purée for one minute, pulsing a few times
Strain mixture into a tami of fine sieve over a bowl using a hand spatula to push the pulp through the fine sieve (ensuring the mesh won't let seeds through))
Freeze for future use, or place mixture (about 6 cups) into ice cream maker, following manufacturer's instructions and you will get an incredible sorbet similar to that in the photo above
Black Currant Fruit Leather Recipe
- leftover pulp from the coulis
Spread pulp evenly on a parchment paper on the back side of a cookie sheet
Set oven at lowest possible temperature, watching it every 15 to 30 minutes, at first, to get a sense of how fast it is cooking, or
170ºF on one side for 2 hours, then top with another parchment and flip, leaving both papers on for another hour
Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes; slowly and carefully peel away parchment paper
Cut into strips and eat, or store in air tight container