King of the Pippins Sauce

I would like to introduce you to the King of the Pippins, the most beautiful and aromatic apple in the world. If you have ever found such apples on the market and were put off by their greyish spots or uneven colour, wait to cook, bake them or simply leave them for several days and feel the wonderful smell they leave in your kitchen. Then you’ll understand why in the olden days apples were used as interior perfume.

Developed by the French in the 18th century, King of the Pippins (or “reine de reinettes” in French) is one of the oldest apple varieties. Due to its strong aroma, its sharp, but not acid taste, it is considered perfect for cooking, baking and preserving. Personally, I don’t undertstand why it is not considered also as one of the best apples even eaten raw. But then, I do not belong to the majority of consumers who love overly sweet, bland (read: tasteless) apples…. provided they are red and shiny. Luckily King of the Pippins is not forgotten by my farmers’ market and I can buy it every year!

As you may have already guessed King of the Pippins is not the kind of apple found all year long in supermarkets nor industrially farmed, so if you want to keep a bit of its exceptional taste, make some jars of apple sauce and use it later in cakes or pies. When making apple sauce I usually add either vanilla or cinnamon, but King of the Pippins is an exception. It is simply too good to be mixed with any spice, and the sauce has such a beautiful golden colour it would be pity to spoil it with anything.

As in the case of Pear and Prune Sauce, this one can be made in two times, for example the apples’ softening stage one day and the rest the following day.

Preparation: 2 hours (+ hot water  bath processing)

Special equipment: a food mill (a sieve and a spoon my be used instead, but it takes much longer)

Ingredients (yield: 4 – 5 x 300ml jars):

2 kg apples

1 kg or more caster sugar (the amount depends on the apples’ degree of maturity)

500ml water

juice from one big lemon

Cut up the pears roughly in 4 pieces each, discarding only the stems. Put them into a big pan (there should be some free space at the top), add the water, cover and cook on medium heat until they are completely soft and fall into pieces.

Pass them through a food mill (the skins and pips should be left in the fruit mill).

Put back into the pan, add the lemon juice and the sugar. Cook uncovered on a medium heat.

After 30 minutes check the consistency. When it has reached the thickness of a sauce, taste it and add more sugar if required. Cook 10 more minutes.

/At this point you can either freeze it (after the sauce has cooled down) or keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or process it in the jars, as described below, and store it in your pantry for at least a year!/

Pour the sauce, still hot, into sterilised jars. Cover with lids. Leave the jars to cool.

Place the cool jars in a big pan, bottom lined with an old kitchen towel folded in two (this will prevent the jars from breaking), cover up with hot – but not boiling – water to the level just below the lid. Bring to boil and keep on a very low heat, in simmering water, for around 20 minutes.
Stick on self-adhesive labels, write the name of the sauce and don’t forget to mark the date.

3 Replies to “King of the Pippins Sauce”

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  2. Hi, took your advice and took a peek at this. It looks like we may have them, but I’m not too sure since it’s never labelled by name, usually just where they’re from. I gotta ask the grocers next time. That’s a lovely color! Thanks for the tip 😀

    1. Thank you Ping, they look funny don’t they? And, you know, the sauce keeps this beautiful golden colour for two years at least! (If you add some lemon juice before putting it into jars). Whenever I make a cake with this sauce everyone asks what I have put inside apart from the apples… that is why I thought this chef might have used simply exceptional apples!
      They are, I think, quite close to the “russet” variety (which is all green and has more of brownish tough skin). Russets are also excellent for sauces and easier to get I think.

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