In spite of the fact that it’s been a scorching summer (or maybe because of it), I started thinking of all the delicious fall foods I love. Moreover, I started thinking of fall foods that have yet to exist and how I could maybe change that a bit…
And then it hit me. Apple Pie. Except, in hot sauce form. Fermented, obviously. And then the name came to me as bright as the red color I imagined. “Hot Apple Pie.” Fitting, right? Because with those serranos and habaneros, this was a pretty hot one for me (and which you could modify up or down heat-wise based on your pepper choices).
To go on what? Thanksgiving turkey. Ham. Mac. Yams. Rolls. Vanilla ice cream. Heck, I can’t wait to slather it on actual hot apple pie. I can’t think of any holiday foods I wouldn’t pair it with.
So let’s do this so you have time to ferment this before the coming holidays!
The ferment uses one quart jar and ends up yielding about 30 oz. of sauce. Just double the quantities and use a half-gallon jar to double the yield.
You will need:
- Knife & cutting board
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Mortar & pestle or spice grinder for powdering any whole spices
- Kitchen gloves (for handling hot peppers)
- Airlock lid and fermentation weight (for 20% off these weights, which already have the best price on Amazon apples to apples, use the code P4P3KFC5)
- Small or medium saucepan & lid; wooden spoon
- Optional: Sauce bottles (fills around 5-6 5-oz. “woozy bottles”)
- If using woozy bottles, bottling funnel
- 1 lb. of hot peppers (I used 1/2 lb. red serranos and 1/2 lb. red habaneros, for a bright red sauce); seeds & stems removed
- 1 lb. baking apples (such as Jonagold, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, etc.); cores removed and apple cut into large pieces
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cups distilled or filtered water
- 1 TBSP additive-free salt (dissolved into the water); or prepare a 3.5% salt brine by weight of the water
After the ferment:
- 1/2 cup retained brine (or replace with apple cider vinegar as noted below)
- 1 cup apple cider (non-alcoholic); can substitute with apple juice
- 1/2 cup applesauce (I used unsweetened)
- 3 TBSP brown sugar (can substitute with white)
- 10g ginger, peeled & sliced (or substitute 1/2 tsp ginger powder)
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Optional: 1/4 – 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- Optional: 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- Optional: 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Optional: rounded 1/2 – 1 tsp citric acid (adds tartness, slightly lower pH)
1.) Prepare the peppers and apples as described above and place in jar, large apple pieces on top. Firmly place cinnamon stick in and cover everything with the fermentation weight. Slowly add the brine to the shoulder of the jar. Apply the airlock lid and allow to ferment at room temp for at least a month.
After the ferment:
1.) Remove the lid and pour out the brine into a 2- or 4-cup measuring cup. Retain until later. Discard the cinnamon stick (or boil with the sauce later for a stronger cinnamon flavor)
2.) In the blender, combine the fermented peppers and apples, spices and ginger, sugar, applesauce and cider, and any of the other optional items. Blend on high for a couple minutes.
3.) Transfer the blended sauce to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring periodically. Then immediately cover and reduce to low; simmer for 20 minutes.
4.) Transfer the still-hot sauce to the blender and blend on high for at least five minutes. Then transfer to the final storage container(s) or bottle(s), using the bottling funnel as needed. Make sure any storage containers are very clean. Once cooled, store in the refrigerator.
Comments: The above is a simple processing method ideal for home hobbyists; this method yields fermented sauces that typically last months or more. For more rigorous pasteurization techniques including boiling bottles, just search online or ask here.
For most sauces on this site, I give guidance to either keep sauces raw or to cook them. Each can have its own reasons, and pros and cons. Cooking a fermented sauce definitely destroys its healthy, living bacteria. Since this sauce includes the addition of a fair amount of sugar and fresh ingredients at the end to create a particular flavor profile, it can become explosive if bottled in a raw, fermenting state. Although refrigerator temps normally tame this, slowly the flavor profile you built will alter and sour as it ferments. Therefore, in this sauce’s case, I recommend the cooking method above.
If you make your own spin on this, please share on the Insane in the Brine Facebook Group!
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