Saturday, July 16, 2011

Apples & Spice

Everyone who knows me well can attest to my intense affection for spicy foods; one of my guilty pleasures is a hot pepper raspberry jelly that Susan found for me years ago. It's intensely flavored and pleasantly hot--not "burn your mouth" hot, but "my, that jelly had a kick!" hot.

I've tried for years to find a way to create a hot apple jelly that has the same heat while maintaining its rich fruit flavor. My first solution was to blend jalapeno jelly with apple jelly. Alas, it didn't work very well; no matter how careful I was to find a jalapeno jelly that had no other ingredients but jalapenos, sugar, and pectin (you have to watch out--a lot of companies put bell peppers, onions, and other ingredients in their jalapeno jelly, probably because they never imagined that someone would try to have it on a bagel or a biscuit for breakfast), I still noticed the jalapeno taste blended with the apple taste. Not what I was looking for...

Last week, on a whim, I tried a different approach--and lo and behold. it worked! I took crushed red peppers--the same stuff I apply liberally to my pizza--and crushed it even finer with a mortar and pestle. I then mixed that with a flavorful apple-cinnamon jelly I found at an Amish bakery in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Bingo! The end result was a spicy jelly that delivered a kick while maintaining its apple and cinnamon taste. No adulteration of flavors at all--just what I was hoping for!

Yeah, I know that I'm probably the only person in the world who will celebrate my culinary discovery... but I'm quite pleased, and will soon try the crushed red peppers in peach preserves and other jellies.

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