I have a friend with a beautiful old Satsuma plum tree and each year, when the fruit is ripe, she invites me to come pick. This year the tree was loaded with very sweet plums. I picked enough for a batch of plum jelly and had plenty left for this spiced plum fruit leather. Using brown sugar and honey helps keep the leather soft and gives it floral and caramel overtones. For the best spice flavor grind your whole spices fresh. The quantities I am giving below are based on 50 sweet Satsuma plums that are small to medium size. You can use Santa Rosa plums or Italian prune plums. Adjust the sweetener and spices according to your taste. I have found the easiest method for pitting fresh plums, if they are very ripe, is just to squeeze them over a bowl and the flesh falls off around the pit. If the plums are less ripe, cut the fruit in half and use a melon baller to scoop out the pit. Be sure to include the skin in the leather.
Spiced Plum Fruit Leather
3-1/2 cups plum purée (from about 50 small or medium pitted plums)
3/4 c. honey
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. freshly ground cardamom
In a food processor purée the plums until fairly smooth. (You need 3-1/2 c. plum purée for the leather.) Add honey, brown sugar, and orange juice. Pulse until smooth. Add the spices and pulse again to distribute evenly throughout the purée. Line three dehydrator trays with cut-to-fit parchment paper. Pour plum purée into trays to 1/4 inch thickness. Spread with a spatula to even out. Turn the machine on and let dehydrate for 8 hours or until dry. Cut with a pair of scissors into squares and roll them up. Place in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer.
Note: We have an enclosed porch so we sometimes will fill one plastic wrap-lined half sheet pan plus one quarter sheet pan with purée. Tent it with cheesecloth and let sit on the porch for 3-4 days until dry. An alternative method is oven drying at 170 degrees for 10-12 hours until tacky but not hard.