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Hot crabapple chilli cheese

Photo: Crabapple jelly and crabapple cheese

Photo: Crabapple jelly and crabapple cheese

I only discovered how delicious fruit cheeses are a few years ago. Until then I had rejected them out of hand – using the left over pulp from jelly making seemed skinflint behaviour to me. And anyway would this pulp have any flavour at all?

I didn’t even bother to taste the pulp when jelly making which was a big mistake as I missed out on this treat. Fruit cheese can be sliced and served with starters, chops, roasts, cheese and even with fruit desserts.

Crabapples, particularly when they first start to ripen often produce very little juice. But the jelly making process leaves a lot of pulp. By turning this into cheese you are using all of your foraged bounty (crabapples are not generally for sale in the shops as they aren’t grown commercially in the UK).

I’ve deliberately used a small amount of crabapples in this recipe as the less that you use dramatically effects time that it takes to make the cheese. Our quince cheese recipe (Membrillo) can take several hours to thicken.

I took a tip from Sarah who left a comment on our hot crabapple chilli jelly recipe and added some chopped dried chillies just before potting. Excellent. Thank you Sarah.

This recipe made just over a pound of jelly and four small straight sided jars of cheese.

Hot crab apple and chilli cheese recipe
• 600g of crab apples washed and chopped
• 35g of medium red chilli peppers, washed and chopped with seeds in
• 1 litre of water
• White granulated sugar 320g to each 400ml of pulp
• 2-3 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
• 2-3 small chopped dried Bird’s Eye chillies to be added at the end just before potting up

1. Put the chopped crab apples and chillies in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.
2. Add 1 litre of water (they should just be floating). Bring to the boil and simmer very gently (lid on) until the crab apples soften and become pulpy. This took about 45 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice.
3. Strain through a muslin square or jelly bag overnight.
4. Retain the juice for hot crabapple jelly – our recipe is here.

5. Strain the pulp through a sieve
6. Add the pulp to a large heavy bottomed pan and add the sugar. Bring very slowly to the boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.
7. When the sugar is dissolved simmer gently stirring every now and then until the pulp thickens. This took me about twenty minutes as I was using a large pan, it would take more time in a smaller pan. Watch the sides of the saucepan, when you notice the pulp thickening on the sides the cheese is ready.
8. Dollop into well greased (I used olive oil) warm sterilised flat sided jars. Fit cellophane tops or lids and leave to cool.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Vialdana

    If you use ordinary jars you will be able to get it out with a spoon. I use straight sided jars so that I can cut it to serve. It is not rock hard 🙂

  2. No I mean the recipe talks about using straight sided containers because the cheese can be cut. I’m saying, if I put it into regular jars – same as you’d use for jam or jelly – will I still be able to get it out or is it going to be difficult (I’ve never made a fruit cheese before, so I’m not really sure what consistancy to expect).

  3. Hi Vialdana,
    I am not sure I understand what you mean.
    Do you mean how hard is it going to be to get the chilli out of the jar?

  4. If I don’t have straight sided pots to put this in, and just use jars instead, how hard is it going to be to get it out of said jars? Will it spoon out ok?

  5. Great! I feel flattered…
    I have to add that the first batch I made, I used special sugar for jam making and it set really well (actually, I would say a bit too much as I prefer it when the jelly is not too thick, but slightly ‘runny’)and the chilli is sitting proudly in the middle of the jar…
    For the second batch, I used half normal sugar and half special jam making sugar and, although I prefer the consistency, adding the fresh chilli at the end has added a bit of moisture in the middle and made it a bit runnier, specially where the chilli has settled. I personally don’t mind, but I thought I should let you all know… It also occurred to me this morning that, although quite unlikely, the sugar should preserve the chilli well and not go ‘funny’… I will keep an eye on mine, just in case, but my mother – the expert – reckons it should be absolutely fine…
    Just FYI…

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Laurence

    Inspired by you, I’ve harvested some of my neighbours ornamental crab apples – thanks for the extra chilli tips. Will be testing out your suggestions this week.

  7. Hi everyone!
    Thanks Steve for the great Chutney recipe. I will try it next week.
    We made the chilli crab apple jelly over the week-end (phew!) and it is ab-so-lu-tly delicious!
    We had so many apples in our garden that we ended up making different batches: chilli, extra chilli, plain (for the children) and cheese as well (hot and plain). We had some jelly with gammon on the bone at lunch and with pork the day before. Great with omelette as well. We feel very proud and quite exhausted, I must admit. But definitely worth the effort! My mother is going to try to make chilli cheese with quince back at home – I think it is a great idea. I will let you know if it works.
    A tip: when you make the jelly, cook the apples with the chillies, strain the juice as in the recipe, but if you like it extra hot (as we do!), add some fresh chillies (slit in the middle lengthwise) with the sugar once you have skimmed the juice. Then leave them to simmer until it is all ready to be skimmed again just before you pour in jars. Delicious!
    Thanks again to all of you. It was great to be part of the forum. I will visit again

  8. Steve that recipe sounds lovely! We’ve so many apples (crab, cookers and eaters) on the trees round here and new recipes are always good. I’m gonna start on jelly and cheese next week, but will try to make some of this afterward too I think.

  9. thanbks for the good ideas, here’s a recipe for Crab apple chutney – very piquant, might need to add more suger if you like it a bit less sharp.
    Pear/Crab apple Chutney
    • 3 lb (1.4 kg) pears/crab apples/apples
    • 2 cooking apples
    • 1 lb (450 g) onions
    • 1 lb (450 g) seedless raisins
    • 1 teaspoon hot chilli powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • Juice and grated rind of 2 lemons
    • 1 lb (450 g) soft brown sugar
    • 1 pint (570 ml) white distilled vinegar
    1. Peel, core and chop the pears and apples. Peel and chop the onions. Crush the garlic.
    2. Put all of the ingredients into a large pan with the vinegar and stir well with a wooden spoon.
    3. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer and continue simmering for around 2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until it is thick.
    4. Ladle into hot, clean, sterilized jars, cover and seal.
    5. Label when fully cool.
    Makes about 4 lb (1.8 kg) of Chutney.

  10. Hi everybody,
    I am just about to make some chilli crab apple jelly… I will keep you informed of the progress…
    I was just wondering if anybody knew a good recipe for crab apple chutney?
    Many thanks,

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