This recipe can be used for jelly, apple paste, or pate de fruit, depending on how long you cook the mixture. Continually check the consistency using a plate that is thoroughly chilled in the freezer.
Recipe adapted from Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food —Ashley Rodriguez
Lightly coat an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with flavorless oil or pan spray. Line the bottom with parchment then lightly cover the parchment in oil.
In a large pot, combine the apples and 1 cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook 5 to 10 minutes more, until the apples are cooked through and falling completely apart, like apple sauce. Return the lid if the apples get dry before they are saucy.
Press the mixture through a fine sieve or a food mill to end up with a smooth, peel-free purée.
Return the purée to the pot and add the salt, sugar, and lemon juice. Simmer the purée for about an hour. Stir often and watch for changes in thickness, scraping the bottom of the pan often to prevent scorching.
After an hour, the apple mixture should mound up and start to stiffen. Once it has done that, spread the mixture into an even layer in the prepared pan. If the mixture is still quite wet you can put the pan into the oven at 150° F until it feels firm. The mixture stiffens as it cools so you can check the final consistency by placing a small amount onto a plate and sticking it in the freezer for a few moments.
Let the jellies set in the pan for several hours or overnight to cool and firm.
Cut into 1-inch squares and coat in sugar.
After a bit of time the granulated sugar dissolves, so only cover in sugar the ones you plan to serve right away. On its own, the paste is a wonderful addition to a cheese plate served with aged cheddar.