I can safely say that if I had to pick one type of dessert or treat to rise to the top as my all time favourite it would be pie. And, if I were absolutely forced to choose, apple is probably my favourite of the pie options out there. This evening I may have opened a new chapter in pie preparedness 'round the domicile taking things even further beyond the pre-made mini frozen pies of the past. Today, I canned pie filling. The recipe came from a back issue of Mary Jane's Farm magazine, though I had to alter it a fair bit for the amount of apples I had on hand. The recipe called for 18lbs of apples and I happened to have roughly four pounds that came from an earlier winter farmer's market but were starting to go a bit too squooshy to be good for eating. Not wanting to let four pounds of organic tasty apples go to waste I set about peeling and slicing them tonight after dinner and grabbed a few 1/2 litre mason jars from the basement. In theory, I now have two jars of apple pie filling sitting in my pantry, ready to be cracked open and baked the next time I have a pie shell at my disposal. The only bit the recipe wasn't too clear on was how much you needed of canned pie filling to produce a regular pie. Or in my case, likely a six inch pie or two. I'm sure I can guestimate without too much trouble.
If you, like me, have a quantity of apples closer to four pounds than eighteen, here's the recipe I used:
4 lbs of apples peeled, cored and sliced. They suggest leaving some skin on for colour. I left a bit on.
2 1/2 cups of water
1 cup of organic sugar
3 tsps of fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/5 cup of arrowroot powder
2 sterlized 1/2 litre canning jars, lids and screw bands.
Heat 2 cups of the water with the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. While that is heating dissolve the arrowroot powder in the remaining 1/2 cup of water (they suggest rice or corn starch here by the way, I always use arrowroot powder where cornstarch is called for in typically equal quanities). Add the apples and bring to a boil, stirring so nothing burns. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Pour the apple mixture and liquid into the two hot jars. Wipes the mouths of the jars clean, attach the lids and hand tighten the screw bands. Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes or process in a pressure canner at 5lbs pressure for 10 minutes. I used the water bath method as I don't have a pressure canner, though thinking ahead to my tomato bounty of last year I'm thinking this might be the year I invest.
I'll report back next time we make pie to let you know how it tasted and how quantities work per pie shell. The spoon tasted just right when licked, so that's half the battle.