Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Apple and Chilli Jelly

After a very long summer of no posting I am happy to say that I have managed to co-ordinate the camera and the cooking process... at least enough to document something I haven't made for a long time but always remembered fondly... fondly enough to want to do it again.

In the UK I made this with foraged crab apples and home grown chillies.  It became a family favourite and cheese was never quite the same without it.  Here in Spain cheese is served with membrillo (a kind of quince cheese) and it is delicious, especially if home made, but I really hankered after my old favourite so....

Firstly, I forgot which recipe I used.  So I found one in this book.....

... Which I thought was probably the one, it had some pencil notes about doubling quantities and cooking times for larger batches, so I guessed it was likely the one.

1kg tart apples - I used Granny Smiths.
1.5 litres water
50ml cider vinegar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 Cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
4 whole red chillies (this is an extra that I add to give it a bit of a kick)

(I apologise for the measurement of sugar being in volume rather than weight - I hate using volume, I find it is so inaccurate, but that is how the recipes are in this particular book - being aimed at the American market)

Put the apples, water, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon and chopped chillies (I included the seeds but its up to you if you do or not) into a large pan, cover and bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the fruit is very soft - soft enough to push through a sieve.

When cooked, strain it through a sieve first to remove the solids and then through a jelly bag to extract the juice.  Return this juice to the now cleaned pan and add the sugar.

Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting temperature is reached and then continue to boil until you achieve a 'gel'.

A jam thermometer is indispensable to ensure that you get a good set on the jelly.

To check that it is set I usually put a saucer into the freezer until its very cold and then put a teaspoonful of hot jam onto the saucer, replace in the freezer for a minute or two and then check it to see if it crinkles when disturbed by your finger.  As soon as it does, its ready to pot.  Sterilise your pots in boiling water and drain and dry in a warm oven.  Pour in the hot jelly and pop on the lid....

I know the book is called Small Batch Preserving but this really is a very small batch.  I think I boiled it a little longer than necessary but even so it still wouldn't have made much more than one pot, now I see why I marked on the page that I should double the quantity....

and then.... I found a piece of paper stuffed into the back of another preserving book with my favourite recipe - which is basically the same but the quantities are much larger and it also suggests that you make Apple chilli butter with the pulp - I had already put mine on the compost, but perhaps next time.  It was delicious and the little pot has already been used up with cheese for afternoon snack!