For so long I've wanted to make homemade fruit leather but thought I couldn't because I don't have a dehydrator. And sure, I could buy one...but I live in a 480 sq. ft. apartment and I'm just not willing to devote space to an ugly appliance. So I decided to make fruit leather in the oven. I should warn that it is no longer raw this way and it is not a method for perfectionists, but it is a heck of a lot better than buying corn syrup and food dye fruit snacks.
This recipe will definitely not replace store-bought fruit leather for me. The bottom line is that fruit leather requires a lot of fruit and a lot of work to make a very small product. But the amazing thing about making your own is that you can customize the flavors. I have never seen lemongrass in a store bought fruit leather (but if I ever do you know I'll buy it). By making your own fruit leather you can try inventive flavor combinations. Plus you'll feel like a badass for making it yourself.
Strawberry Coconut Lemongrass Fruit Leather
4 stalks lemongrass
2 lbs. strawberries, hulled
meat of 3 young coconuts
juice of 2 lemons
honey to taste, optional
Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to the lowest temperature setting possible. Peel away the outer leaves of the lemongrass and chop off the root and upper 2/3 of the stalks. Chop the remaining portion into thin rings. Put them in the food processor and pulse to break into fine pieces. Add the strawberries, coconut meat, lemon juice, and honey and puree until smooth. Pour onto baking sheets. Use a spatula to spread puree evenly across the pan. Put in the oven for about 5 hours (will vary depending on how low of a temperature your oven will go). Test with a toothpick to make sure it is completely dry. Remove the fruit leather from the oven and let cool. Then cut into strips and roll with parchment paper. Store in plastic bag.
note: An electric oven would probably make this easier. I have a gas oven so if I turn it any lower than 225 the light goes out. If your oven is a little too hot like mine you may have to periodically turn the oven off and on to maintain a warm temperature without burning. I did about 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. I also recommend opening the oven every once in a while to release moisture. This process is finicky. If you are a perfectionist, invest in a dehydrator.