Fall is finally here, as is the season of flannel, leaf peepers, chilly autumn mornings and everything pumpkin. I always find myself inspired to try new comfort foods in the colder months here in New Hampshire. Some of my favorite dishes include soups, stews, pies, breads and anything with cheese. In August I moved in with my boyfriend and finally have a kitchen of my very own. Some of my adventures in cooking have been a wild success, while others, including a tuna casserole, required a pizza delivery.
Growing up my mother taught me and my sister to cook at a very young age and involved us in every step of the preparation process. This gave me a deep love and appreciation for cooking from researching recipes, shopping for ingredients, to enjoying the meal with family and friends. Recently I tackled the challenge of homemade fruit leather, which was a childhood favorite for both me and my boyfriend. Our mothers would use a similar method of dehydrating locally sourced fruit and jam to create the sweet treats of our childhood summer days.
Since it is now fall I decided to add a little twist to my mother’s summertime treat and created a pumpkin pie version. This sticky sweet treat is the perfect addition to a weekend hike or that 3 o’clock boost during the work week. The recipe can be adjusted based on an individual’s tastes, however the flavor will intensify once it goes through the dehydration process.
2 cups or a 16-ounce can of pumpkin – either canned or roasted at home
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup chopped golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped fresh apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
Begin by mixing all of the ingredients together, you can adjust the spices as needed. (Remember the flavors will intensify with the drying process.)
Next spread the mixture onto a well-oiled fruit leather sheet or use wax paper on top of each dehydrator rack (make sure the waxy side of the paper is up). You will want the mixture to be an even medium thickness throughout the sheet. I like to sprinkle extra chopped cranberries, apples and golden raisins on top of the mixture.
The pumpkin leather should stay in the dehydrator for 8 to 24 hours at around 135 F. (The mixture will darken as it dries.)
Once it is completely dry, peel it off the sheet/wax paper and cut it into squares or strips. Next roll up the strips and wrap them in plastic wrap for freshness. If you have trouble removing the leather from the wax paper stick it in the freeze for five minutes. Then pull it out, let it come to room temperature and it will peel right off the paper.