Tklapi (Fruit Leather)

Wherever a rare natural widening occurs along the mountain highways, local residents sit by the roadside hawking their foods and crafts – plums and apples, peaches and apricots, colorful knitted mittens and socks. These roadside stands sell the best tklapi, fruit leather made from the tkemali plum that is the favored souring agent for soups and stews.

For snacking, Georgians enjoy sweet fruit leather of apricots or peaches, made following the same procedure as for sour tklapi. An excellent tough untraditional fruit leather may also be prepared from the juice used in making walnut oil, churchkhela.

To make sour tklapi: Take ripe sour plums, cut them in half, and remove the pits. Place in a saucepan, add just enough water so that they won’t burn, and bring them to boil. Reduce heat and cook slowly, covered, until the fruit is soft. Place the cooked plums is sieve to drain, then puree in a food mill.

Place several smooth layers of newspaper on a table and top them with a piece of baking parchment. If the parchment has been folded and is creased, iron it gently.

Working quickly spread the plum puree about 1/16 inch thick onto the parchment sheet, leaving 2 inches free at one end. Leave to dry for 24 hours.

The following day, attach clothespins to the free end of the parchment sheet and hang it on a clothesline is a breezy spot. Leave to dry for 1 to 2 days more, bringing the tklapi in at night.

If you do not have excess to the outdoors, or if the weather is bad, one can place the leather in an oven and it can be dried at 200°F. for some 6 to 10 hours, until it is no longer tacky to the touch.

When the fruit leather is dry, place in on a flat surface, parchment side up. Soak the parchment with a wet sponge, then slowly peel it away from the leather. Store tightly wrapped. Cut off pieces of fruit leather as needed.

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