Who doesn't love caramel apples? This jam would make a wonderful gift. Five cups of applesauce can be substituted for the cooked and sieved apples in this recipe. This recipe is from Linda Ziedrich's The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and other Sweet Preserves.
- In a large pan cook the apples over low heat, covered, until they are soft, about 20 minutes. You may need to add some water or apple cider to keep them from scorching.
- Puree the apples by putting them through the medium screen of a food mill or pressing them through a sieve.
- In a large pan, combine 2 cups of the sugar, the water and the lemon juice. Without stirring or shaking the pan, bring the syrup to a boil and gently boil it until the water has evaporated the the syrup has turned golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat immediately, before the caramel darkens more than you'd like.
- Add the apple puree to the caramel, which will harden at first and then begin to dissolve. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and stir over low heat until the sugar and caramel have completely dissolved. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the jam to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes until the jam is thick enough that your spoon briefly leaves a clear track at the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the brandy, if you are using it, and the vanilla extract. Ladle the jam into pint or half-pint jars and process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
My neighbours brought me some fresh apples from their trees, so I thought I'd try your recipe, (with the Brandy and vanilla). Having read the other reviews I cut down on the sugar, used only the first 2.5 cups for the caramel and didn't add any more. It was so good I made another batch the next day, this time I had about 3/4 pound more apples but the only change was that I added another 1/2 cup of sugar, after making the caramel. My other half says it is the best apple butter I have ever made.
I made this using the applesauce substitution. It took alot longer than posted to cook it down but that might be b/c of the applesauce. It is very sweet. I was afraid it wasn't going to set up b/c of the lack of pectin but it did just fine. I didn't use the brandy b/c I didn't have any. I got 6 half-pints from it.
Wow - this is an absolutely delicious spread! I used apples picked fresh from our tree and cooked them for about 40 minutes to make sure all the apples were tender. I moistened the apples with apple juice to prevent burning. The only other change I made to the recipe is to stir in only 1 cup of sugar at the end because I found the spread to be sweet enough. The caramel flavour comes through superbly and turns this into a wonderful taste treat. I don't know if I would use this as a jam because the texture is more that of apple sauce as opposed to apple jelly but so far I have served this to family and friends as a sauce on ice cream, a topping for cheesecake and a substitute for pie apples and have received rave reviews for each of these.