An “On-the-Fly” Recipe
This was a fun recipe that I created “on the fly” because I was hosting the Sedona Garden Club; and the topic I was speaking on was “Dehydrating”. Now, as I always say, “my Excalibur dehydrator must do more than make kale chips”. I wanted to provide some munchies that the members could enjoy during my talk; so, yes, kale chips did make an appearance. But they did so alongside sourdough bread (more on that in the next paragraph)’ a dried herb mix that I call my Scarborough Fair herb mix (with a few added extras—such as marjoram and oregano); and alas, cherry liqueur-spiked jellies, both naked and chocolate-dipped.
A very common task that my Excalibur has assumed is that of a proofing box. It enables me to create the perfect environment to raise dough, controlling both temperature and humidity to help the dough rise and ferment. It works brilliantly for doughs that being with both a sourdough starter (aka, Henrietta, as mine is named) and a yeast dough. If I want an environment with moisture, I put a pan of boiled water on the floor of the dehydrator, then slide a rack in above the pan, where the covered bowl containing my dough is placed. I then set the temperature between 95-115 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the dough, and set the timer. Works stupendously every time!
Let’s Make Some Chocolate Covered Fruit Jellies!
Ah, but now to address today’s topic … how to make fruit jellies (aka fruit roll-ups with a kick).
Let’s Get Started!
I started with 2 cups frozen organic bing cherries, 3 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar, and 3 tablespoons sour cherry liquer in a saucepan. On medium heat, I began stirring the mixture until the sugar dissolved and the fruit was beginning to slightly break down. To that, I whisked in 1 tablespoon agar agar until well dissolved and then continued whisking for an additional 3 minutes. I allowed the mixture to cool slightly, then transferred it to the blender, blending until the mixture was viscous and homogenous, and smooth.
I lined several dehydrator racks with both the screen and a non-stick drying sheet. Pouring about 1/6 of the mixture on the sheet, I then carefully spread it out in a even layer using an offset spatula. Three racks went into the dehydrator at 130 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours. I removed each fruit sheet, then rolled them into logs, before cutting into approximately 1” bite-size pieces.
The remaining fruit mixture was destined for dark chocolate enrobing. Using flexible chocolate and butter molds, I filled each well, then placed the molds onto a dehydrator rack at the same 130 degree Fahrenehit temperature. Given the fact that these molds were deeper than the single layers, they took approximately 12 hours to dry to the state of flexibility but firm enough to unmold.
Using a really good dark chocolate (one that is good enough to eat and stand on its own), that is melted to a glossy velvety viscous liquid and a chocolate dipping tool (or a large serving fork), dip the fruit into the chocolate, then shake to remove excess, and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Park in the refrigerator for no more than 10 minutes, only enough time to allow the chocolate to set up but not cool. If you leave it too long in the refrigerator and it cools, it will lose its luster; and if allowed to actually cool, can develop white spots, which is the cocoa butter rising to the surface.