Bastegh, sweet-tart fruit leather

Have you ever heard of “Nanny Candy?”

If you’re Armenian, and you have or had a grandmother, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

My grandmother, Yeranuhe Nanny, always had candy in her house – but not American candy like Hershey’s Kisses or Snicker’s bars.

Her favorites were candy-coated dried chickpeas, and pastel-colored, sugar-covered almonds that were so hard you were afraid you’d break a tooth. Then there was the glass bowl on her coffee table filled with sugary, multi-colored hard candies that would invariably clump together from the humidity, making it impossible to separate.

Occasionally, as we’d be driving home from church, Nanny would rummage through her purse, pull out a crumpled but clean tissue, and offer us kids some of her “special” traveling candy. She’d carefully unwrap the tissue to display the selection, expecting us to joyfully pick a favorite.

Much to our dismay, we’d find that each piece was covered in tissue lint. She never quite understood why we rejected her sweet treat offer.

There’s only one candy that Nanny had that we didn’t reject. Bastegh, or Fruit Leather. Hers was a homemade delight. She didn’t make it often, but when she did, it didn’t last long because it tasted so good! Nanny used the grapes from her backyard vine and extracted the juice- a messy and tedious procedure. To make things simpler, the modern-day cook is wise to use bottled grape juice.

Here’s how to make Bastegh:


Sweet-tart, chewy, homemade fruit leather.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting and drying time 3 days
Total Time 3 days 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 2 sheets


  • 3 cups purple grape juice (apple juice may be substituted)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar (or to taste )
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • Cornstarch (for later use)


  • In a large pot, combine the juice and sugar. Heat gently until the sugar begins to dissolve.
  • Slowly whisk in the sifted flour. Be sure the flour is well-blended to prevent lumping. If lumps appear, carefully pour grape mixture through a strainer, discarding any lumps. Return grape mixture to pot.
  • Bring mixture to a gentle boil, stirring constantly.
  • When the mixture begins to thicken, remove pot from the heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm.
  • When the mixture begins to thicken, remove pot from the heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm.
  • Place parchment paper on 2 baking sheets. Dividing the mixture in half, spread it to a thickness of 1/8 inch using an off-set spatula, or the back of a large spoon. Allow about an inch or more of the edge parchment paper to show or else you’ll have trouble hanging it to dry or peeling the paper away from the fruit leather later on. (Special note: this is a messy procedure, so spread extra parchment paper around the table to collect any drips.)
  • Allow to set for 24 hours.
  • Hang the fruit sheet(s) on a clothesline to dry – about a day or two. If drying indoors, place parchment or newspaper on the floor – just in case!
  • When the fruit sheet is dry, carefully peel away the parchment paper and discard.
  • Sprinkle and spread cornstarch on the fruit leather to prevent it from sticking.

To Serve:

  • Cut fruit leather into strips or squares. Wrap the leather around a piece of walnut – or any other kind of nut, and enjoy! Eating it plain is great, too.

To Store:

  • Place cut pieces in a plastic bag, or cover tightly in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator.


WARNING: Don’t try to make bastegh when it’s hot and humid. Trust me, I know. After the bastegh set for 24 hours, I hung the sheets of grape-covered parchment paper, as directed.
Within 20 minutes I noticed purple globs on the tile floor- not a pretty sight!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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  1. Unknown December 25, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Help, we are looking for a recipe for rojeeg.

  2. Robyn December 26, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Thanks for your request, Carol. I'll post a full recipe for Roejig on December 29th – be on the lookout for it.

  3. Unknown October 26, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    You have no idea how enlightening this post is. We are huge fans of the Syrian dried apricot paste that can be found in most Arabic / Mediterranean stores. My father always called it Bastegh but I never realized that it wasn't that specific product. Now I know!

  4. Robyn October 26, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Glad we could help! Now, if I could only master making it…

  5. Anonymous January 6, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you for posting this recipe. My kids are obsessed with bastegh but we only buy it from the church bazaars. My grandmother would make it from the grapes in our yard, and I've been scared to try it that way. But making it with grape juice sounds a lot easier!!!!

  6. Unknown April 14, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Have you ever made this with a food dehydrator?

  7. Robyn April 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Tamar, The last time I tried using the food dehydrator, I turned apricot halves into hockey pucks.
    Does using a dehydrator work well for making bastegh?

  8. Anonymous September 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Since my grandmother had an apple tree in the back yard, my only exposure to bastegh was from rendered apples. We called it apple candy. She would add a bit of lemon juice to it. The rendered apples were then spread onto bed sheets, sprinkled with corn starch, and then hung on the line to dry.

  9. Anonymous December 30, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Just because something is "traditional" in no way makes it "correct" or even good. Consider how many ethic dishes still subject children to nothing more than a history lesson of how poor, culinary limited, and very hungry their ancestors were.

    There is *no* rational reason to make Bastegh with flour. Fruit leather by any other name is fruit leather. The flour serves no other purpose than to thicken it, which can be done without the introduction of the unnecessary flavors of flour. Use Xanthan Gum, powdered sugar, and a food dehydrator. You do not have to cook it, so you do not drive off volatile flavor compounds.

    You then can make something your great-grandmother would be proud of, like Mango Chili "Bastegh":

  10. Anonymous April 10, 2014 at 1:08 am

    Xanthan Gum is not healthy.

  11. SatoM September 9, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Dear fellow Armenians, I hope you won't mind if I pose a candy related question..I'm reading my mother's anecdote about her father, during his youth in Eskishehir (now Turkey). She describes a "sweet milk-white candy" that was prepared for madagh and handed out at funerals. Is this familiar to anyone? Would you happen to know what it is called? Many thanks, Sato

    1. Robyn September 10, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      Dear Sato, I'm making inquiries about this candy, but so far, no one has been able to help. I'll try digging around a little deeper. If nothing turns up soon, I'll post your request and see what happens.

    2. Unknown August 17, 2016 at 4:12 am

      The candy you are referring to is a pistachio nougat, called Gaz in Arabic and is very popular during Easter time. I don't know what the Armenian word is, my Dada always called it Gaz.

  12. Unknown December 30, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    do you have a recipe for Khash or Patcha?

    1. Robyn Kalajian January 1, 2019 at 3:18 pm

      Here's a recipe for Khash from Irina Petrossian's book, Armenian Food- Fact, Fiction & Folklore:
      8 lbs. beef hooves
      1 bulb garlic cloves, crushed
      2 lbs. beef tripe and fat
      salt to taste
      Wash hooves thoroughly and make sure they're clean. Cut tripe into small chunks. Put the feet, tripe and fat into a large kettle. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Skim the surface regularly of any foam; discard. Add more water if necessary. Simmer for about 10 (ten) hours. Add garlic as khash is cooking. Add salt, to taste, at the end.
      For another khash recipe, go to this link:

  13. Anonymous January 28, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    When I was little, my Grandmother would take me for walks around the neighborhood. She had Bastegh in her pocket, it was rolled up long-end over long-end, and it looked like a wallet. It was grape with powdered sugar on it, and I could not get enough. We took a lot of walks.


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