Momofuku Apple Pie Filling: Part 1

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime -Maimonides

So, to my readers, I know I haven’t been updating this ‘diary’ recently. I really hadn’t been able to write much because of my struggles with a single technique related to Thanksgiving dessert choice that I’d made compounded by a very hectic work schedule. So as I was planning my holiday meals, I needed to think about what I wanted to do for Thanksgiving dessert.  What could be more appropriate than apple pie?  But I didn’t want the hassle of making the pie crust and taking over the oven with other courses planned for the  dinner.  A ‘normal’ slice of apple pie would probably would be too big for the meal.  I must say that I was really happy to come across Chef Christina Tosi’s Fried Apple Pie recipe in Chef David Chang’s Momofuku (p. 289-293).  So my take on apple pie would be to make the apple pie filling recipe and then use it to fill wonton skins which would be deep fried and dusted with the cinnamon sugar.

I’d made compotes before so the first thing I needed to learn was how to make apple cider jelly since I’d never done it before. The ingredient list was:

1 1/4 teaspoons (4g) pectin crystals
1/4 c + 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
Large pinch of cinnamon (I read this as 1/4 t)
1 cup apple cider
2 fuji apples peeled, cored, chopped (finely diced)

As it would turn out, I made numerous attempts over the last three months and never got it to set correctly.  As I was growing up, I was aware of home preservation of fruit, etc, Ball jars and the like.  Last weekend, whilst getting some ingredients at the Chestnut Hill location of Wegmans, I happened across Ball’s pectin and decided to give it another go.  As I would discover, Ball had a corresponding website with mulled apple cider jelly (“…sound familiar?”): http://www.freshpreserving.com/mulled-apple-cider-jelly—ball-auto-canner-recipes-br1435.html

While I know the recipe indicated that I needed to use their hardware, I rescaled their listed recipe to a microbatch version

1/2 c + 1 T apple cider
2 1/4 t Ball’s RealFruit Classic Pectin
1/2 c + 2T light brown sugar
1/8 t cinnamon

and included 1 fuji apple peeled, cored, chopped (finely diced).

sugar and cinnamon for the jelly

sugar and cinnamon for the jelly

So according to Ball, I pre-mixed the sugar and cinnamon and set it aside. I measured out the pectin and set it

portioning out the pectin

portioning out the pectin

aside.  I then got the apple cider into a pot and brought that to a boil on high heat.   I should note that a pastry

apple cider for the microbatch jelly

apple cider for the microbatch jelly

chef friend of mine had suggested that the amount of pectin in a jelly was typically between 1-3% of the sugar

bringing the cider to a boil

bringing the cider to a boil

amount.  Once the cider was at a boil, I gradually added and stirred in the pectin.  I got that mixture  to a full

gradually adding the pectin to the hot cider

gradually adding the pectin to the hot cider

rolling boil that could NOT be stirred down and dumped in the sugar/cinnamon mix.

Dumping in the brown sugar and cinnamon

Dumping in the brown sugar and cinnamon

As per the instructions, I kept stirring to dissolve the entire mixture. Once everything was dissolved, I brought the pot’s contents to a full  boil again; boiled hard on a timer for 1 minute while stirring (think risotto) and then

bringing the jelly mixture to a hard boil

bringing the jelly mixture to a hard boil

yanked it off the heat into a bowl with the diced apples.

peeled cored fuji apple just before undergoing a fine dice

peeled cored fuji apple just before undergoing a fine dice

FINALLY it really looked like it set as an expected apple jelly.

combining the jelly and fresh finely diced fuji apple

combining the jelly and fresh finely diced fuji apple

My wife and both tasted it and thought it tasted good but a bit sweet.  I took a jar of it to work and did a taste test with some of my coworkers with plastic tasting spoons.  It turns out they really liked it that sweet and one of them volunteered that it tasted like apple pie (without my having told them for what I had intended to use the jelly).  There was a common request to increase the amount of cinnamon.

I’ll have to try and make this again to see if I can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe since I will be combining this with the apple compote.  I have to wonder though –  I noticed that the original recipe read: 1 + 1/4 teaspoon pectin for 1 cup of apple cider  compared to the Ball recipe of, effectively, 4 1/2 teaspoons of pectin? Was there a misprint or typo in the recipe?

As to the opening quote for this write up – can you imagine the possibilities for other fruit fillings?

Update (10 Nov 2016):

So I remade the jelly using the Ball recipe reflecting Chef Tosi’s ingredient list (microbatch):

Ingredients……………Tosi……………..Ball
Apple Cider……………1/2 c……………1/2 c + 1 t
Sugar……………………1/8 c + 1/2 T..1/8 c +1/2 T
Pectin…………………..1/2 t + 1/8 t….2 1/4 t
Cinnamon……………..1/8 t…………….1/4 t (by taste testers request)

The jelly set.  So I think there’s a typo in Chef Tosi’s recipe – the pectin needs to be 2 1/4 t NOT 1/2 t + 1/8 t, relative to the microbatch version.

Resources

Ball’s RealFruit Classic Pectin – Wegmans, Chestnut Hill, MA

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