As promised a few weeks ago, after our trip to a local orchard where we picked up a jar of pear and apple chai preserves, I’ve made a few batches trying to replicate that. The first step is deciding what chai mix to use. I’m including recipes for the two that I tried. For the first batch I used one teaspoon of the #2 mix. That seemed a little weak to me to I increased it to 1½ teaspoons for the second batch. The third batch has 2 teaspoons of the #1 mix. I also experimented with texture, chopping the fruit very fine for two batches, and running it through a food processor till it was the consistency of slightly chunky applesauce for another batch. The finely chopped version gets my vote, as the fruit is small enough to cook up soft so you get tiny pieces of flavorful fruit suspended in a sweet gel.
I used Honeycrisp apples for the first two batches but they were all gone by the third batch so that has Jazz apples from the store. Pick a variety that’s sweet, juicy, and fully ripe. This is not a recipe for Granny Smiths. Pears can be any variety and should also be completely ripe. 2-3 apples and 2-3 pears will be enough this recipe.
I made this in the Ball freshTech Jam and Jelly Maker. It’s gotten a lot of use this season, turning out batches of strawberry-rhubarb jam, as well as strawberry, raspberry, and pear jams. It makes small batches, just 2-4 cups at a time, so it’s ideal for experimenting. I have plenty of freezer room so all of ours gets frozen, but it can be processed in a water bath for shelf stability instead. In case you think small batches sounds like a hassle, it couldn’t be easier. Put in the fruit, pectin, and acid, listen for a beep in a few minutes, add sugar and cover, then do something else for 17 minutes till it beeps again to let you know it’s done. Let the machine cool for half an hour between batches.
– Joan, 16 October 2020
Chai spice mix #1
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1½ tablespoons ground ginger
- 2¼ teaspoons ground cardamom
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- 3/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Chai spice mix #2
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoons ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups (250 grams) apples, peeled, cored, finely chopped
- 1½ cups (250 grams) pears, peeled, cored, finely chopped
- 1 cup (192 grams) sugar
- 2 tablespoons low or no sugar pectin
- 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons chai spice mix
- 1 teaspoon butter
Sprinkle the pectin evenly on the bottom of the freshTech. Spread the fruit over it, sprinkle on the chai spice, add the lemon juice and butter (butter helps reduce foaming) and turn on the jam function. After 4 minutes the machine will beep. Add the sugar, cover and let it cook. When it beeps again, remove the stirring paddle and scrape the preserves into hot, clean jars. Set aside to cool, or process immediately in a water bath for 10 minutes. Jars that have not been processed must be either frozen or stored in the refrigerator.