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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. Louise Weeks

    This is the first time of making jelly and cheese, it’s worked out brilliantly thank you, especially with the added zing of chilli. My question is how do I store the cheese and how long will it last while stored?

  2. So excited with this right now

  3. Is this meant to have a similar texture to membrillo? I’m not sure how thick it should be before it’s cooked!

  4. Diane Dawson

    could you send an email of your recipe” hot crabapple chilli cheese” Thankyou

  5. Fiona I have just steamed 2600grams of crabs which has produced 1.5 litres thick syrupy juice – beautiful colour. Would you be tempted to dilute this or not? I’m fairly sure that steaming produces a thicker juice than boiling the fruit with added water. You do get some condensation dripping back onto the fruit with steaming but I doubt it would equal the amount used with boiling. As the boiling method produces a nice set even with the added water than I wonder if the juice produced by steaming could be diluted to enable a bigger yield. I know you have a steamer so would really appreciate your thoughts on this. Can’t wait to try the chilli jelly.

  6. Marguerite

    This cheese is fabulous – worth all the faffing about, making the jelly!!! I followed the same process after making Rose Hip and Apple Jelly but the results were a little disappointing, the taste was quite bland. Any suggestions as to how I could zing it up a little?

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