Use this recipe as a template for all kinds of fruit leathers – it works really well with strawberries, apricots and nectarines too. Essentially, all it entails is making a thick, gloopy purée of fruit and sugar and then drying it out very slowly in the oven until you have a pliable leather as clear and vivid as a stained glass window. Remember to add the lemon juice if you are using fruit that is likely to discolour.
Makes 2 sheets
A little groundnut oil for greasing the tins
500g peeled, cored and chopped cooking apples
Juice of 1 lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 70°C/Gas 1/4. Line two baking sheets of about 24cmx30cm with foil or several layers of clingfilm; lightly oil with groundnut oil.
2. Put the berries, apples and lemon juice into a pan. Cook gently, partially covered at first, until soft and pulpy, about 20 minutes. Rub through a sieve or mouli into a bowl. You should have about 700g smooth fruit purée. Add the honey and mix well.
3. Divide between two baking sheets, shaking the tins and smoothing with a spatula so the purée reaches right up to the edges. Place in the oven for 6-10 hours.
4. The leather should be a little tacky but no longer sticky and should peel easily off the clingfilm or foil. Leave to cool completely then roll up the leather in greaseproof paper or cling film and store in an airtight container in a cool place. Use within two months. Alternatively, you can freeze it, well sealed, for up to a year.
Turn to page 120 of September's The Simple things (on sale 29 August 2015) for Postcards from the Hedge, where Mark Diacono is picking peppercorns and harvesting honey.