I am really excited about this recipe today.
It all started when my wicked kitchen skills resulted in me burning a batch of strawberry roll ups. You may think that it would take quite some skill to accomplish burning fruit which you are meant to be drying out in a low oven, but I am clearly one very talented girl.
Suffice is to say that while the charred remains of those strawberries were still smouldering in the bin I was already plotting my revenge; so determined was I to become master of the strawberry roll up. Fortunately for me it is high strawberry season right now, and the price of these jewels has dropped considerably. We are buying all the strawberries we can eat. And, friend, my small people can eat many, many strawberries.
The strawberries from The Rooi Rok are ever lush and so so sweet that in no time I was headed around the corner to buy another batch of these Paarl grown beauties. The irony that the Rooi Rok sells readymade strawberry fruit rolls right there at the farm stall was not lost on me.
Let us learn from my mistakes.
Firstly, a silicone baking mat or baking sheet really is the best choice for a drying surface. In researching the drying of fruit to create rolls I had read that you can use plastic wrap if it is oven grade plastic wrap. Speaking from experience however, silicone mats are by far the better choice here. They are also really great to have in the kitchen, so you will not be sorry if you decide to invest in one or two. If you do have your own dehydrator to use for this process, you win!
Back to the plastic wrap for a quick second. Now, oven grade plastic wrap is the thicker kind of plastic wrap that doesn’t melt on contact with the oven. I tried doing it both ways because I know that not everyone has silicone baking mats. The big strip that you see in the images was dried out on plastic wrap so it can be done. What you do need to do is to first line your baking tray with baking paper to create a buffer between the warm tray and the plastic wrap. (You cannot dry the fruit on the paper as it will stick before it dries.) Then cut a piece of plastic wrap far bigger than the tray. Turn the corners in such that the plastic does not rest on any part of the tray but rather lies loosely on the paper. Then add the cooled fruit onto the plastic. Once dried, the plastic will simply peel off the fruit.
The second thing I learnt and by far the most important is that your oven must really not be too hot. My first attempt I tried to dry out at 100˚C. The fruit roll dried and…er…blackened around the edges before it had time to dry in the middle. In my oven, the best temp for drying the fruit is actually 80˚C. Set your oven on the lowest possible setting you have. If there is no action heat it up a little bit more.
The last thing I learned is this. The fruit roll will be ready when it is no longer tacky to the touch on the top. However, once you turn it out you may notice that a little tackiness remains underneath. For that, I simply turn the fruit strip out onto a cooling rack and then place the cooling rack in the oven which has been turned off. The residual heat will finish the job on the other side.
All that being said, making these fruit rolls is quite possibly one of the easiest things to do. In about 3 or four hours you take a mound of strawberries and turn them into a lunchbox / snack box / picnic basket treat that lasts!
These are actually my Pretty Girl’s all-time favourite thing to eat and she loves it when I make them; now that all the cremating of strawberries is under control that is. It is pretty easy to earn best-mamma-ever points around here!
Have a great week.
- 4 x 250 ml (4 C) strawberries, leaves removed, washed and chopped
- 125 ml (½ C) water
- brown sugar or honey or lemon juice to taste
- 2.5 ml (½ t) cinnamon
- Place the strawberries and the water into a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the brown sugar / honey or lemon juice to taste. How much you add will depend on how sweet your strawberries are to begin with.
- Add the cinnamon.
- Reduce the heat and simmer the strawberries for a further 10 minutes.
- Puree the strawberry mixture until it is fine and smooth.
- Pour the strawberries out onto you prepared baking tray lined with a silicone mat or baking paper and thick plastic (please read note above). Do not spread too thinly.
- Place into an oven which has been preheated to 80˚C and allow to dry until the strawberry puree dries, is no longer tacky and can easily be removed from the silicone mat. This may take about 2 – 4 hours depending on your oven.
- Once cool use a pair of scissors to cut into even slices and roll up.