This is an all-time childhood favourite. Apple jam speaks of autumn, but you can make it any time of year really. And spread on a thick slice of bread, maybe over a thin layer of crunchy peanut butter, it is just heaven. Moreover, it is insultingly easy to make.
1kg very finely chopped apples – I like Granny Smiths for this
2 kg pectinated sugar
100g dark muscovado sugar or, alternatively, 1 cup of golden syrup
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon brandy
Put the apples in a large saucepan with the juice and zest of the lemon and about 200ml of water. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the pectinated sugar and the muscovado sugar (or the golden syrup) and let it boil on high heat for about 2-3 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved and bubbling. Add the brandy and the cinnamon. If you are feeling adventurous, this is the time to add about ½ cup of raisins previously soaked in water and rum.
Pour into sterilised jars and close tightly – if you want to seal them this preserve will keep outside the fridge for a couple of months.
One of the best presents I have ever received was a large jar of this golden wonder (made with golden syrup, which makes it slightly more sticky), layered with store-bought caramelised blueberries. You only need a spoon and a slice of toast to make yourself the most express and delicious pudding ever.