Sometimes you just try stuff to see what happens, and then you figure out later what you’re going to do with it. We’re in the middle of cherry season, they’re delicious and cheaply available, so we figured we’d give Cherry Leather a whirl. The recipe was taken directly from Put ‘Em Up: Fruit, which Gretchyn got from the Book Larder on a trip to Seattle. Cherry Leather is basically organic fruit roll-ups.
Things went according to plan with the recipe, save for the fact that it took a fair amount longer to dry than expected–we actually left it overnight. It peeled off the wax paper easily enough, although it’s a little sticky to handle. But the bigger question is what are we going to do with it?
Just Eat It
Obviously, it’s way a healthier fruit snack than anything laden with chemicals and preservatives. It’s bursting with cherry flavor and nicely sweet. It will last longer in this form than the cherries themselves would have. This answer is just a little too first order.
You might simply put a little roll of it into ice cream or use it as a platform for something else. The substance is pretty malleable, so someone with a little artistic skill might be able to shape it in any number of ways to decorate a cake or pie.
As the Fruit Layer in a Dish
We’re probably still talking dessert here, but you could add a different texture to the inside of a roulade or cake. It’s likely too sweet for a savory dish, although I might consider it with meats–especially wild game–which like a fruit component. Again, it’s pretty easy to work with, so a thin, sharp knife in the right hands could do quite a bit to make an attractive and edible garnish.
Bourbon and cherry are a match made in heaven, so garnishing a Manhattan with a Cherry Leather straw/stirrer seems like the right call. The sweetness of the cherry makes a nice contrast to the tartness of cranberry, so you could probably do the same with a Cape Codder. The substance might be a better way to flavor your own vodka (and an experiment I’m definitely going to try), although you might need too much of it to make a difference. Guess we’ll find out.
Sometimes a food discovery isn’t about just eating the food, but about the many ways you can use it. I suspect this sort of unassuming and simple substance will turn into a powerful weapon in our arsenal.