Featured Recipe – Caramelized Apple Jam
Apples are the harbingers of fall and winter and this jam packs on the flavor of my favorite fall and winter fruit. I first tasted this jam at the food52 cookbook party in September, actually it was not this jam exactly. This is Bevi’s recipe, the jam I had was made by her daughter who produces delectable jam and preserves under the name “Maiden Preserves”right here in Brooklyn. She tweaked her daughters recipe just a bit, and made this delightfully delicious apple jam. Bevi is a food consultant and very active cook on food52, you can see her 55 other recipes by following this link: http://www.food52.com/users/8894_bevi
I made this jam, and believe me its easy to make, I cut the recipe in half and it worked perfectly. I didn’t process the jam, but if you are able to do so, I highly recommend making this entire recipe so that you have plenty on hand. It makes a wonderful homemade gift if you can bear to part with a single jar, its that good!
Makes 6 half pint jars of jam
12 nice sized apples – a firm variety such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and chopped into I” pieces
6 to 7 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups sugar
2 cups fresh apple cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Calvados (Optional)
6 half pint jam jars, with lids and screw tops, properly sterilized
- Place the lemon juice in a large bowl. Peel, core and chop 3 apples at a time and thoroughly mix them into the lemon juice until all the apples are prepared and covered with lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
- In a very large jam pot or enamel Dutch oven, place 2 and 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup of the cider over a medium high flame. Stir constantly to dissolve the sugar, and continue cooking to boiling. Reduce the heat and continue to stir, producing a light caramel colored syrup. This will take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.
- Immediately add the apples, the rest of the cider, the apple cider vinegar, the vanilla bean seeds, and the honey to the jam pot. (If you want to add Calvados, do so now.) Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat and cook, stirring often, for about 30 minutes. Keep the mixture simmering. The apples will retain their shape throughout the cooking process, but become soft.
- In the meantime, put the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and a tablespoon of water in a 2 or 3 quart saucepan over medium high heat. Stirring constantly, make a much darker caramel syrup – quite brown in color, being careful to not burn yourself as you prepare the caramel syrup. Pour this syrup immediately into the apple mixture, and stir the mixture well. Allow to cook for another 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Take a potato masher, and smash about 50% of the apples in the mixture – retaining some pieces for chunkiness, but allowing half of the mixture to take on a jam-like texture. At this point, almost all liquid should be evaporated.
- Fill jam jars and process in a hot water bath according to your preferred instructions. I process for 15 minutes. Take out of the hot water bath, wait for the “ping” sound that indicates that the jams are sealed, and allow jams to sit for a day. Any jam that does not have a secure seal should be placed in the refrigerator.