Fruit Roll-Ups for Adults (and Kids too!)
You all probably know by now that I have a real fondness not just for sweets, but also for markets! Every city I visit, I always love to visit the local market. You can learn so much from seeing the people interacting with the vendors, the different products they have and how they’re presented. You can simply get lost in the rainbow of colors. I am all about taking advantage of what is in season too: I jumped at the first arrival of fresh figs in September, got awfully excited about my discovery of mini kiwis in October, ate a few blood oranges a day in March and now – it’s all about rhubarb!
I have already made a compote with rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries, a rhubarb tart with this cornmeal crust, and dreamed about my favorite rhubarb raspberry sorbet with grenadine syrup that I used to make when living back in the states. Zoom in on my ice cream maker in the attic with its American plug! I had a similar rhubarb explosion several years ago when a friend gave me several pounds of the longest, brightest stalks from his farm in upstate New York. Armed with more rhubarb than I ever could have asked for, it was a rhubarb weekend for me! Rhubarb jam, rhubarb upside down cake (mmm, I should make that again!) and rhubarb leather. Leather? Think Fruit Roll-Ups! Ah yes, I can remember finding those in my lunch box as a kid, pulling back the plastic on those fruity sheets and eating them in all sorts of fun ways!
Back then, I would have loved the color of my rhubarb leather today. I can’t believe how red the rhubarb stayed even when cooked down this time. It usually takes on some of the green color of its interior, and so adding a touch of red by way of strawberries or a red-colored syrup helps. As for the Fruit Rolls-Ups for adults, have fun with the recipe below and add a few drops of Grenadine liqueur if you want. A nostalgic recipe with a twist! Whatever you do, it’s real simple. All you need is rhubarb, sugar, an oven and time.
1/2 pound (250 grams) rhubarb, trimmed
2/3 cup (150 grams) sugar
Chop rhubarb in to chunks and put in casserole over low heat. When it starts to release its juices, add the sugar. Continue to cook gently until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat to medium/high and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft and broken down, and all excess liquid has evaporated. Let the mixture cool a little bit.
Optional steps: You can put the rhubarb into a blender or food processor for an even smoother purée. I chose not to, and left some visible traces of fruit. You can also add a few teaspoons of any liqueur or syrup for extra color and flavor. My rhubarb was so bright pink, it didn’t need a thing.
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting (ideally around 175 degrees Fahrenheit / 80 degrees Celsius). Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the rhubarb purée in an even layer, as thin as you can. Bake – or really, dry – in the oven for about six hours, or even overnight, until it’s firm and it doesn’t stick to your finger when you touch it. Peel the leather from the foil and cut into squares, rectangles or triangles. Cover with cellophane or parchment paper and roll for that perfect replica of the classic Fruit Roll-Up !