Cook This: Apple, Pear and Chilli Chutney

Having a more sustainable Christmas this year? Nothing beats a homemade gift; think beautifully packaged cordials, jams and sweet treats.

On the hunt for recipe inspiration, we asked award-winning food writer and cook Kate Young to share one of her favourites. She chose this delicious chutney, taken from her new book, The Little Library Year (£25; Head of Zeus), which was released last month and contains over 100 recipes inspired by her favourite works of fiction, all arranged in seasonal chapters. If you don’t have the time for cooking, we think the book makes a gorgeous gift, too…

“When there are piles of apples and pears in the markets, towards the end of autumn, it feels like a prompt from nature to make this edible Christmas gift. This chutney will hang about in the cupboard until the spring if the recipient prefers, but I am wont to encourage them to open it up in the days following Christmas, so it can be spooned liberally onto crackers and good cheese. The chutney steals its method from Teresa’s date and apple chutney, which I read about in Diana Henry’s Salt, Sugar, Smoke: chop your ingredients into small dice and cook them for an hour before you add the vinegar and sugar.”

Ingredients (Makes 4 x 300ml/10oz jars)
– 1kg/2lb 4oz eating apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
– 500g/1lb 2oz pears, peeled and finely diced
– 500g/1lb 2oz onions, peeled and finely diced
– 500g/2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
– 300ml/1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
– 1tsp salt
– 1tsp chilli flakes

1. Place the fruit and onions in a large saucepan, and cook over a low heat for an hour, stirring regularly so they don’t stick. The apples will give off plenty of liquid, so you don’t need to add any at this stage.
2. After an hour, stir in the sugar, vinegar, salt, and chilli. Bring to a simmer and reduce until thickened, stirring regularly. To check if it is done, draw a line along the bottom of the pan; when the chutney is ready, the line won’t flood with liquid.
3. Spoon into sterilised jars. They will keep in a cool, dark place for at least six months, but have yet to last this long in my house.