Please note: unlike standard recipes the apple quantities are net weights -AFTER chopping etc and are based on using a very large pan- 30 cm minimum in diameter
1.8 k of cooking apples (net weight)
600g of onions
200g sultanas (green or golden)
zest and juice of 1 large unwaxed lemon
500ml of white wine vinegar
500g of Demerara sugar
1 ½ tablespoons of prepared Baharatspice mix – Baharat spice mix from supermarkets is a good alternative)
Wash, peel and core the apples and finely chop. If the skins are unblemished, pale in colour and are not greasy or thick then do not bother peeling.
Peel and very finely chop the onions. Zest and juice the lemon
Lightly oil the base of a large heavy based pan. Put in the spice, add the chopped onion, apple, sultanas and lemon zest. Add the vinegar plus the lemon juice and bring slowly to the boil. Turn down and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes to soften the onion and apple and allow the sultanas to plump up.
Add the sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved before bringing back to the boil.
Turn down and simmer very gently for at least 90 minutes cooking from this stage to develop flavours. Stir every now and then to ensure it is not sticking. (Sultanas BURN very quickly!!) You will need to stir quite frequently as it thickens and nears completion (gently and slowly move the spoon around the base of the pan taking care not to break the surface of the mixture as it can spit quite violently). It is ready when you can draw a spoon either across the base of the pan or through a spoonful of mixture on a plate and no watery liquid runs into the trail.
Bottle in warm sterilised jars. Use a skewer or the thin handle of a long spoon, to remove the bubbles from the jar mixture. Fill the jars to the base of the neck and add just a little more as the mixture might shrink slightly when it cools. Seal while hot. Label when cold and store in a cool dark place. Keep for a few months before opening to allow the flavours to develop. Once open, store in a refrigerator. It can be kept for 12-18 months.
Tips and tricks to avoid problems:
If after the sugar has been added, there seems to be an excess of liquid, simmer rapidly for a short period to remove some of the liquid. Do not wait till the end as it will simply burn. Extra liquid can come from fruit which is very juicy/ripe.
However, be careful not to remove too much liquid as the chutney needs to cook for at least 90mins after the sugar has been added to enable the flavours to mingle. It is surprising how much liquid does evaporate at even a low cooking temperature.
Chutney is a balance of small soft pieces of fruit within a thickened sauce. Be careful that all the fruit is not the type that does not breakdown. If this happens you end up with pieces of fruit and a thin liquid which is never going to make a chutney. I keep some “fluffed” apple – sort of pured apple in the freezer so that I can add the odd spoon to thicken the liquid if this happens. I freeze this as ice cubes as these are easier to incorporate from frozen. If I am batch making over a few days and know I will need the apple, I make the pureed apple and keep in the fridge. I tend to add in the last half hour of cooking. I also cut down the amount of apple that I have added at the beginning.