So today’s blog is all about apple pie filling, which is one of my favorite fall rituals, but then it snowed this morning.
My cat who thinks the snow is about the worst thing ever. She keeps giving me this look like it’s MY fault the ground is white and wet and icky.
I think she might be right, except we’re inside and warm with blankies, so no real complaints.
Getting back to the pie filling. I am a big fan of pies, particularly in the fall. I generally make 18-25 pies for Thanksgiving and they just accompany me from event to event until all the pie tins are empty. Part of preparing for this pie ritual is canning pie filling when apples are at their peak. Often canning apple pie filling is a struggle because the heat required for thickening turns the apple chunks into apple mush. To deal with this many apple pie filling recipes are based on just tossing raw apples in spices and cornstarch and baking, often this leaks through the crust or bubbles into a mess, or just accepting chunky bits. Using Ultra Gel allows the juice base to be made separate then combined with the apples so the slices are maintained. As well the use of Ultra Gel means less mess in the oven and less bubble over. As you can tell…I’m a fan.
Prep starts with great local apples:
These are golden delicious apples. I like using a combination of golden delicious and Granny Smith apples. This makes for a great flavor combination and both of these apples are hearty and resistant to breaking down into the afore mentioned mush.
Wash, peel and core the apples. This can all be done with a potato peeler and a knife, but I prefer my apple peeler corer slicer machine. This one is cool because it just suction cups to the top of the counter and away you go.
The machine leaves the apples in a long slice, so which should be cut in half for slices. In a separate pot heat apple juice, lemon juice, sugar and spices and thicken it with Ultra Gel. The apples go into a microwave safe bowl covered with cling wrap and into the microwave until the apples are soft but not mush. Combine the juice and apples.
Scoop into hot clean quart bottles and top with hot flats and rings. Into a hot water bath for 45 minutes (at my altitude) and we’re in business.
From here it’s easy to use the filling in cobblers, piece or any other application calling for apple pie filling. I’ll admit that warm with a scoop of ice cream is a simple dessert and oh so good!
Apple Pie Filling with Ultra Gel from the Ultra Gel Answer Book
For one quart:
3 1/2 cups blanched fresh apples, sliced 1/4″ thick
3/4 c + 2 T sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg (opt)
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup apple juice
2 T bottled lemon juice
7 T Ultra Gel
Peel, core and slice apples. Blanch no more than 2 quarts at a time and keep warm.
Combine sugar, spices, water, apple juice and lemon juice in large kettle. Add Ultra Gel gradually, stirring in with a wire whisk until smooth. Put over medium heat and cook until thick and bubbly. Fold in drained apple slices. fill jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately in water bath canner for 35 minutes (sea level). Add five minutes processing time for elevations of 1,000 to 3,000 feet and ten minutes for elevations from 3,000 to 5,000 feet.
Nutrition: 147 calories, 0 g total fat