We at Stovies love this jelly, as do many of our friends who receive little jars of it in the run up to Christmas each year. Some of those jars aren’t so little any more – the biggest jelly fan received a litre of the spicy nectar last year. So, in honour of James*, as Mrs Stovies can no longer keep up with his chilli consumption, here is our simple yet delectable formula for chilli jelly. It goes well with everything; cheese, cold meats, sausages and scotch eggs or simply as a dip.
This recipe will make a good few jars. The exact amount will depend on the juiciness fo your apples and the size of your jars. Mrs Stovies tends to have 5-10 of varying sizes ready to go.
You will need:
About 1kg apples. Cooking apples will make a less sweet jelly. Eating apples, like Granny Smiths, will give the jelly a sweeter taste, a little like thai chilli sauce.
About 1kg sugar. Caster or granulated will do fine, you don’t need jam sugar.
A sprig of rosemary
A few tsp chilli flakes
Roughly chop the apples, and put into a large pan, skin, core and all along with the rosemary. Cover the apples with water and simmer for half an hour then strain through a jelly bag.
If like us the last time you saw a jelly bag was at your Great Aunt’s house, lay a very clean tea towel over a large colander and balance it on top of a pan. Let the apple mush sit in the straining device for a few hours to get all of the liquid out. It’s tempting to squeeze the pulp to maximise the liquid but don’t, if you do the final jelly will go cloudy.
Measure out the apple juice back as you transfer it back to the large pan. Add 1lb of sugar and 1/2 tsp chilli flakes for each pint of liquid. Cook on a high heat for about three quarters of an hour, until you reach setting point.
To test for setting chill a small plate in the fridge. Pour a spoonful of the hot liquor on to the plate and pop back in the fridge for 5 minutes. If the jelly goes crinkly when you poke the edge with your finger it’s ready. If not keep cooking and checking every five minutes until it is. Be careful not to over cook it. There was once a disaster in the Stovies kitchen when the jelly was forgotten. Not only did the jelly turn to toffee but the chilli matured to volcanic intensity!
Pour into sterilised jars – the easiest way to sterilise them is on a tray, along with the lids at gas 3 / 160’C for 20 minutes. When the jelly is nearly cool screw on the lids.