Homemade Apricot-Lime Fruit Leather

If it still to this day surprises me, it’s got to be surprising to you too: Fruit leather is so Lebanese.

I was eating fruit leather long before I’d ever heard that term, and even before we were buying fruit roll-ups at Schmidt’s on Lansing’s west side way back when.

The original Lebanese version of fruit leather is a thicker, sticky apricot paste folded like a letter and wrapped in orange cellophane. It’s called amerdeen (um-er-DEEN; also qamardeen and qamar el edeen), it tastes of super-concentrated dried apricots, and at home we always considered it a treat of a day when the orange package showed up on the kitchen counter for us to tear into.

It may be surprising that fruit leather is Lebanese, but not so surprising that the original is apricot. Always apricot and never, ever anything other than apricot, which is the most beloved fruit of the fruit-loving Lebanese (to date, we’ve used apricots here, here, here, and here). When I was in Lebanon last year, I loved seeing Lebanese candies that layer amerdeen with pistachio nougat or rose jelly. There was a beautiful box of these waiting in our room at the Four Seasons in Beirut, and then again sold from the back of a guy’s car in a small village where we stopped near the Chouf mountain area, and still more in the beautiful Dwaihy pastry shops there. You can imagine the candies are on my kitchen hit list…

The first summer I launched this site, I was asked about how to make fruit leather, and I haven’t gotten it out of my mind ever since. Now that I’ve done it and discovered how simple it is to transform pretty much any fruit into leather with a process akin to making preserves, I can’t wait to go after any and every fruit with the leather in mind.

But the apricot will be tough to beat. There were true shrieks of delight here on Main Street when my nieces and nephews sampled the apricot-lime leather this week, which I tied up with green twine for their fun (and let’s face it, my own and yours too) . They practically SANG to me that it’s the BEST fruit leather they’ve EVER eaten, SO much better than the fakey stuff you buy at the store. They say I should SELL it, and call it “Maureenie’s Fruit Treat,” or “Up North Fruit Paste.”

This isn’t just approval-because-we-love-you, either. These kids are seriously nuanced with their food; my 11-year-old nephew dubbed the apricot leather a ‘paste’ without ever having heard of amerdeen, and he asked me all kinds of questions about how the leather is made, nodding in approval at the addition of lime to balance the sweet and add a tart element.

Maureenie’s apricot fruit leather is real-deal Lebanese, and real-deal delicious. And since it’s not for sale (yet), you’re going to want to make some for yourself to discover your own resounding kid-approval, and to see just how good homemade fruit leather can be.

Apricot-Lime Fruit Leather
Homemade fruit leather is very easy to make, and a great way to use up your abundance of ripe summer fruit. Use this recipe to make leather with most any fruit you like. A Silpat will release the fruit leather with the most ease, but parchment paper can be used instead to line the pan. For thicker leather, double the recipe using the same size sheet pan, and double the baking time. Makes one half sheet pan (18”x13”) of leather.

2 cups pitted, chopped apricots
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup water
1/3 cup agave nectar or granulated sugar

Line a heavy duty sheet pan (18”x13”) with a Silpat or parchment paper. Place a rack in the middle position of the oven, and turn on the oven to the lowest setting, about 140-170˚F.

In a small heavy saucepan, bring the fruit, lime juice, and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the fruit begins to break down, add the agave nectar or sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste the mixture after each addition to determine if it is sweet enough. If not, add more agave or sugar.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the fruit mixture for 10 minutes.

Puree the cooked fruit in a blender or food processor until smooth, about a minute. Pour the puree on the lined sheet pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula or back of a spoon, leaving an inch rim.

Bake for about 4 hours, until the leather is mostly dried but still slightly tacky to touch. To roll up the fruit, if using a Silpat, peel the entire sheet of leather off the Silpat and lay it on the same sized sheet of waxed paper before cutting into strips and rolling up; if using parchment, do not remove the leather, and cut into strips then roll up. Eat the leather immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Print this recipe here.

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16 Responses to Homemade Apricot-Lime Fruit Leather

  1. Valerie says:

    HI Maureen,

    Wow, I’m delighted to see this. I spent several years in Beirut as a child and loved amerdeen (or mush-mush as the kids called it) beyond measure. No other fruit leather (so far) has been a patch on it, so I’ll look forward to trying this! I also like the sound of those candies…Thanks so much!

  2. Isn’t that the truth??? Apricot Fruit Leather and Laban…..both were in our Sito’s kitchen and fridge looooog before they became Americas staple food. If we knew then what we knew now, we’d be rich Maureen.. lol!
    Love having the recipe for the leather. I always buy mine….now I will make it. Laban on the other hand, is always in my fridge. Thanks for another exciting new recipe for me to try.

  3. Rosemary says:

    Oh I gotta try this! I’m thinking maybe some cherry (after the apricot, of course)

  4. Super thank you. Always loved the apricot rolls and have been wondering how they are made. Did not know they could be made at home. What is the shelf life (in the fridge) Maureen?
    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  5. Amanda says:

    Who needs kids to try it when it sounds so good. I’ve tried making fruit leather with a cheap-y food dehydrator in the past; it never worked. Excited to try this method. But…so sad all the apricots are gone here!

  6. teri says:

    just this morning, my girls (10 & 7) asked me to buy fruit roll-up for their snacks. i told them we would make it instead so your recipe is ever so timely. off to buy a silpat! appreciate the tips!

  7. Amerdeen! Oh I completely forgot about apricot leather–my Aunt Louise (born in Lebanon) always made it–we all loved it–oh my gosh, the memories you bring back–thank you!

  8. Merry in Massachusetts says:

    My brother’s eyes still light up when I bring home the apricot leather from the Syrian bakery. I can’t wait to try this recipe! Do you think it can be made with dried apricots?

  9. jemma says:

    My goodness–your blackberry buns sure look cozy under that blanket of soft powdered sugar. Sorta like winter in July. I’m clipping this recipe to try when I have some free time. I’ve never baked with lavender before and am very curious how it will be. Sounds and looks heavenly, though. Thanks, Maureen.

  10. Zainab says:

    Hi, I wonder if I can do this with dried apricots. I live in the uk and the apricots I boughts on several occasions ar very sour and hard- they come from Europe not as good as the ones back in the Middle East. I lov reading your blog!

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Zainab, and thank you! I have not tried this with dried fruit but you could, taking more time to soften the dried fruit and probably using more water to create a puree. But you might be surprised how even hard, sour apricots take on fabulous flavor cooked with sugar/agave (and perhaps little or no lime, if very sour). Those are well worth a try!

  11. Courtney says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. My dad used to bring Apricot “Paper” home from trips to Florida when we were kids. It was so much better than anything you can find today. Thanks!

  12. Mitchell says:

    Yum!
    I’m gonna make this in my dehydrator today!

  13. suzanne says:

    Hi Maureen,

    Really enjoying your recipes and photography, extremely inspiring! I am a self-professed amardin-aholic ;)

    Looking forward to trying this recipe, just a quick question- most of the syrian dried apricot paste I buy at the Middle Eastern stores list “Olive Oil” as the last ingredient. Any idea where that plays into the Syrian recipe? Shukran!

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Hi Susan, and thank you! What an interesting question. I think this may be to do with coating the exterior of the amardin to keep the wrap from sticking to it too much; I don’t think the oil is needed in the making of the fruit leather.

 

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