I’m so enchanted with this recipe – so simple, so refreshing, so vegan. Yes, that’s not a typo. Completely lacking in animal-derived ingredients. “But it looks so creamy!” I know, right!?
I rarely eat ‘neat’ mayonnaise these days – it’s just too rich (“Hold on a minute,” you say, “what about the very mayonnaise-like Dutch Fritesaus you have on chips??”. It’s deuced delicious, is what I say. *shrugs and waves hands vaguely* So I’m a contrary enigma!)
I usually mix equal parts mayonnaise and plain yoghurt to get creamy with a little tang – but this mayonnaise delivers on both counts. It’s not overtly apple-y, but you can taste the freshness. It’s fabulous!
Now for the slightly sad news: The best apples for this mayonnaise are Bramley apples – an iconic cooking apple here in the UK which, when cooked, fluffs up like cotton wool without drowning in juice. As far as I’m aware, it’s not widely available outside the UK – please contradict me if I’m wrong! It’s the fluffiness of the Bramley that gives this mayonnaise both its ‘body’ and delicious tang. Not wanting to disappoint readers from Forn Parts as Terry Pratchett puts it, I tried with other apples and my recommendations are listed below, together with some ideas for providing variety. The original recipe was incomplete, vague and in Russian so I initially just guessed quantities/types. However, I also experimented with different batches for a week or so (anyone wanna buy 4 pints of apple mayo??), and here are my findings and suggestions:
- Apples: If Bramley apples aren’t available to you, use three (3) sharp apples such as Jazz, Braeburn, Granny Smith. Also, make sure there’s no excess moisture left in the pan when the apples are cooked. The resulting mayonnaise will be slightly less firm, but certainly not runny.
- Acid: I’ve switched the original vinegar for lemon juice. Experiment. A nice white balsamic might suit the apples you have perfectly.
- Mustard: I’ve used yellow mustard powder, but if you like things feisty and have the seeds, grind yourself some black. Alternatively, use ready mixed mustard – a mustard mixed with vinegar might prove the better compliment to your apple pulp.
- Sugar/Salt: Both are needed, maybe you’ll need a little more of one that the other again, depending on your apples. I stayed with ordinary table salt and white, caster sugar, as I wanted the colour to remain light and creamy, but there’s certainly scope for using the whole range of sugars from icing through to molasses. Smoked salt is the next variation I’m planning to try. Have at it!
- Pepper – again, thinking of the impact on the finished colour, I opted ground white, but an earlier version contained coarse-ground black made for a lovely speckled effect. There’s also all the ‘red’ peppers (paprika, cayenne, chilli etc) to introduce a little (or a lot of!) heat.
- Oil: Originally vegetable, I also tried various mixtures as well as a couple of less obvious options. Vegetable is fine, but I felt it a little ‘claggy’ on the palate. Switching out 2tbs for olive oil wasn’t an improvement. However, in it’s defense, I must confess I didn’t use the best quality olive oil. Grape seed oil I found gave richness without clagginess. Experiment!
2 Bramley Apples
1tsp white sugar
1tbs lemon juice
2tbs yellow mustard powder
1tsp ground white pepper
100ml grape seed oil
- Core, peel and chop the apples and put into a small pan with the lemon juice, sugar and salr.
- Cover and simmer over a low heat until cooked and fluffy – this won’t take long at all, so don’t wander off and let it burn. If you’re using a sharp dessert apple, they’ll need a little longer to soften, plus you’ll probably need to leave the lid off once cooked just to let the excess liquid evaporate.
- Use a stick blender to puree the apples smooth.
- Add the mustard and pepper and blend in.
- SLOWLY – and I mean one drop at a time to begin with – add the oil. Just as with traditional mayonnaise, if you add the oil too quickly, it won’t emulsify and you’ll end up with runny mayo. Once you’ve added half, you can start to add a little more at a time – maybe a teaspoon – but certainly don’t just slosh it all in.
- Transfer the finished mayonnaise to a plastic container and chill thoroughly.
- It will keep up to two weeks in the fridge.