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
I really want to make fruit leather, and now I know how
Lydia Guerrini says
That fruit leather is so easy for kid’s lunch boxes! A great reminder Valerie for using all of the fruit. Yummyyyyyy 🙂
Nora ross says
Valerie! I love reading your posts! So interesting, & inspiring!
Thank you! It is so nice to know you are reading them! I will have to have you over for a “tasting” sometime!
I made fruit leather once and it was a sticky mess!
Hi Valerie. Another wonderful post! I do like the idea of fruit leather. Thank you for the reminder to ‘use it all’. I was wondering if a fine chinoise or a finely holed food mill would work better than the tami? At least as the first pass. I used the food mill last year when doing my tomato sauce and it made short order of the tomato pulp and seeds. Didn’t bother peeling them first. (Maybe I should have made tomato leather!) I would have to summon lots of courage to work my muscles for 30 minutes like that! Though the results seem worth it.
Good Point, MIss AM Waters ! 😉
– and I have one, too (a chinoise from my grandmother) – but the Thermomix does such an incredible job of pureeing that I probably got a bigger bang for my buck – meaning gleaned much more of the fruit than would be geaned without using it. I believe I would have had much more fruit leather. However, I would maybe have not had to work so hard to get at the product. Tomatoes are so different. I did Saskatoons today, and phew! They were just as demanding. Tomato leather would be deadly delicious. I was watching an episode with Heston Blumenthal making ketchup and he spoke about how the umami from the tomatoes comes from the gelee (which many discard). I love my oven dried tomoatoes, and sun dried tomatoes are so yummy. Tomato fruit leather would definitely be a hit! Good idea!
Thanks for encouraging me on the tomato leather. Would you flavour it at all? We pressure cooked the tomatoes, let them sit to drain as much as they would without being interrupted. (Canned this juice. Great with soups and making rice.) Then we pushed the tomatoes that had drained through the food mill to de-pulp and de-seed to give us our sauce to boil down a bit. No additional flavours. I wonder if it at least needs salt and pepper. Maybe I could figure out a way of working strands of basil with the tomato pulp to amp up the tomato leather. My tomato canning buddy is hopefully thrilled that we now have an extra ‘step’. Really appreciate the encouragement. Cheers, Anne.
Christine @ Fresh Local and Best says
I bet your girls are all the better off watching their mother grow more independent and resourceful through the years. Oh what I would give to taste that coulis, it sounds magnificent. And what a fun and delicious byproduct the fruit leather makes.
Michelle Becker says
I’m delighted to have found your website. I googled black currant fruit leather and found these wonderful instructions. My issue is that my husband was recently diagnosed with diabetes (thus the search for recipes to put our fruits to use without making jam or jelly). Do you think I could make a sorbet or coulis with stevia? And the same goes for the fruit leather. I don’t know what a “tami” is, but I’ve an old-fashioned food mill and a cuisinart. Is is crucial that the seeds be removed? I was planning on combining red currants with black currants, what do you think?
Valerie Lugonja says
Lots of questions. Seed removal is a personal issue and has to do with texture more than anything. A tami is a very fine sieve. I do believe you could use other sweeteners in a leather – but the ratio would be different adding red currants. They are very different in flavour. Red currants are much more tart than black. I prefer the individual leathers – but love experimenting, as well – and believe that may be the only way you find what will work for your palate. I also LOVED the coulis I made with the black currant and still had some after 2 years that was as good as the first day. Adding gelatin made it incredible; dolloping it beside a cake added a tart note and wonderful compliment to my angel food with some berries; it can be used to make a sorbet… and on and on and on.
Hope this helps. Thank you for taking the time to make a comment and ask a question. That is the reward we who do this work enjoy.
Valerie Lugonja says
Afterthought: you could also make all of this without ANY sugar and then adjust the level of tart/sweet when you use the coulis and make the fruit leather from the mash.
I was trying to print off this recipe and the one for the Evans Cherry ice cream, as I did with the pie filling, but can’t find the same ‘print’ function. Is there a trick, so I don’t print off all the picture? (They’re gorgeous, but ink costs so much!)
Valerie Lugonja says
I have fixed the recipes so you can now print them, Helen.
Thanks for this recipe! For the first time my fruit leather is fit for more than feeding to the chickens or composting!! The couli has been real success too. I’ve made couli in the past and really struggled with a way to get the fruit through. – cracked it this time, by using a potato masher – mine looks like a fish slice bent to 90° so plenty of surface area pushing the pulp through and much much faster than a spoon.
Valerie Lugonja says
Great, Lesley! So happy to hear! Great to waste nothing, isn’t it? I LOVE LOVE LOVE that coulis!