I make quite a lot of chutney but tend to give most of it away rather than eat much of it ourselves. This one, however, we will be eating a lot of as well as giving away. I found the recipe in Kirstie Allsop’s “Christmas Crafts” and it sounded like a perfectly delicious way to use up some of my large supply of apples.
It’s called Boxing Day Chutney because it has so many Christmas flavours and ingredients: apples, dates, apricots, cranberries and mixed spice, amongst others. Cider vinegar and orange juice provide the liquid and the chutney is thickened by the apples and dried fruits as much as by the time spent cooking it. The smaller proportion of vinegar means that the chutney does not need time to mellow and can be eaten straight away. I assume that likewise it will not keep as long as chutney made in the traditional way, but it should keep well until the Christmas season really starts.
I had a couple of issues with the recipe in Kirstie’s book, both of which should have been picked up by proper proof reading but you won’t have the same problems.
I never take too much notice of the amount a recipe for preserves says it will make as all my jars are different sizes and I can never remember how many grams each one holds. I tend to put a few more jars than I think I will need in the oven and use as many as it takes.
The recipe claims to make about five 200g jars. However, if you look at the ingredients, you’ll notice that they add up to over 3kg in fruit and vegetables and the liquid element is almost 2 litres. There is no way that amount of ingredients is turning out a kilo of chutney, unless you are planning on cooking it until next Christmas.
The recipe tells you to put the dried fruits in a bowl with the orange juice and leave for about 20 minutes, to absorb the liquid. Then it says put everything in the pan except for the sugar, bring gently to the boil and simmer. Which I did. Then the next step tells you to add the marinated fruit to the saucepan… You can see my confusion!
I have now read and re-read the recipe and because “Meanwhile” was at the beginning of the sentence, it assumes that “everything” excludes the dried fruit. It clearly doesn’t matter too much but I think it probably takes a lot longer to cook if you add everything at the start.
And I ended up with 16 jars of chutney.
So it’s lucky we like it as much as we do. We took a jar to the Isle of Wight with us and it took me a while to convince my mum that we had more than enough for them to open it straight away and still have some leftover for Christmas. And even better, you can buy it for yourself or your friends if you don’t have time to make it: Victoria Cranfield, of the award-winning Cranfields, devised this recipe for Kirstie Allsop.
This is the recipe in full but to make a smaller amount you will just need to halve or quarter the amounts.
1kg dried apricots
175g pitted, chopped dates
600ml orange juice (about 8 oranges)
900g chopped onion
900g peeled, cored and chopped cooking apples
1.2 litres cider vinegar
50g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice
Zest of two oranges
1 kg white sugar
Put the dried fruit in a large bowl and pour over the orange juice so that the mixture can absorb the liquid: it should take about 20 minutes.
Put all the other ingredients except the sugar into a large pan and bring to the boil.
Allow to simmer until the onions become transparent and the cranberries start to pop. This should take about 5 minutes.
Add the marinated fruit to the pan with the sugar, stir well and bring back to the boil.
The liquid should start to thicken quite quickly: you do not need to wait until you can make a channel through this chutney, as with traditional ones, it just needs to be thick enough.
Once ready carefully ladle the chutney into hot, sterilised jars and seal.
Label once cool.
This chutney can be eaten straight away and is particularly good with cheese and cold meats: perfect for Boxing Day.
In the meantime I need to get started on some of Kirstie’s other Christmas Crafts!