Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fig Leather

 

Mom likes to say that my generation has it easy when it comes to research projects.  Gone are the days of sitting in a shadowy microfiche room, searching, squinty-eyed, for a hidden gem.  Now, we can access all manner of articles with the click of a mouse.

Sorry to tell you, Mom, but research just got even easier.  Thanks to the wonderful world of  Google Books, I am (almost) done with my first grad school term paper.  I've used this nifty site to access dozens of professional books, many of which are out of print. 


So what does my research paper have to do with food?  Well, I can only look at online textbooks for so long before my brain begins to wander.  I've had figs on my mind lately, and decided I'd poke around Google Books to see if there were any books about them.  Jackpot!  I found a USDA bulletin from 1921 called Fig Growing in the South Atlantic and Gulf States.  Inside, I found several suggestions for preserving figs, but one method in particular- fig leather, caught my eye.  I went straight to the kitchen and got to work.  The product was amazing- a mildly sweet Fruit Roll-up for adults, full of figgy flavor. 

Adapted from Fig Growing in the South Atlantic and Gulf States

INGREDIENTS
2 cups fresh figs, washed and stems removed
1 tbsp powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS
1.  Line a baking sheet with heat-safe plastic wrap or parchment paper and set oven to "warm".
2.  Puree figs in a food processor.  Spread fig puree onto plastic wrap (or parchment paper) in a very thin layer.
3.  Place baking sheet in the warm oven.  Remove when fruit leather is fully dehydrated and peels off in a single sheet, about 10-12 hours.  (Leather may be slightly tacky to the touch.)
4.  Separate fig leather from cooking surface.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and roll up like a jelly cake.  Slice into serving-size pieces and store in an air-tight, moisture proof container.
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