I found another variety of crab apples which were there for the taking when I was in Toronto last weekend. More like radishes in size, they are a little easier to work with for slicing. So, searching for another experiment, I have Valerie to thank for suggesting this one. It had occurred to me briefly, but I was intimidated by the thought of the mess it might make. Knowing someone out there was interested in the result, I was up for it.
The result was far better than I expected, and the mess – not so bad after all.
First, slice the fruit very fine. I used the slicing disc on my food processor.
I put them in a bowl, and sprinkled sugar liberally on them to coat. Almost immediately, a sugary syrup formed at the bottom of the bowl.
I tried two methods of drying: in the dehydrator overnight; in the oven for about six hours, depending how thickly they are placed, and just how much liquid sugar ends up in the mixture.
The oven ones worked better, in that it was much easier to remove the sticky fruit from parchment paper than from the plastic trays of the dehydrator. For unsweetened dry fruit, I will use the dehydrator, but not with the sugary ones.
Place the slices (and syrup) on a parchment lined cookie sheet. I started the process at 225 F to let some of the liquid evaporate, then after about 15 minutes, turned it down to 175 F and left it about 6 hours. This will vary depending on how well you can spread it all out.
I did not let them get crisp at all – just dry enough to handle without any perceivable wetness, but still flexible (like a dried apricot or raisin). The ones in the dehydrator were a little dryer, in part because the syrup dripped down to the bottom tray. This accounts for the slight difference of colour.
Valerie, you were right. So much better than apple chips. They make a great snack on their own, – good in baking. They would be an excellent substitute for dried apricots in something like a tagine dish, and of course with cereal or trail mix for those who like the sweetness.