Adapted from Blue Ribbon Preserves by Linda J. Amendt If you want absolutely clear jelly you can go through another straining process after running the juice through the cheesecloth. Line a cone sieve with a paper coffee filter and strain the juice again. Cover the juice and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Ladle the juice into another container, being careful not to disturb any sediment at the bottom. Strain this juice through a new coffee filter 2 to 3 more times to catch any sediment.
To make the juice, combine apples and water in an 8-quart stock pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat, cover and simmer, stir occasionally, until soft, about 20-30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit 30 minutes.
Mash mixture with a potato masher.
Place a fine mesh sieve over a large pan or bowl. Ladle the cooked apples in to the sieve and strain the juice from the pulp. Discard the pulp. Rinse the sieve thoroughly and line it with 3 to 4 layers of clean, damp cheesecloth.
Strain the juice through the cheesecloth 2 times, rinsing the cheesecloth between each straining. Measure 5 cups of juice.
To make the jelly, wash 9 to 10 half-pint jars, lids, and rings in hot soapy water; rinse. Fill a large stock pot (preferably a canning pot) with water. Attach a candy thermometer to the side and set over medium-high heat. Place clean jars and lids in the water to heat. Watch the thermometer and heat the water to 200°F. Once it reaches the correct temperature, make sure to raise or lower the heat to keep it there.
Meanwhile, heat the juice in a separate 8-quart stock pot over medium heat until just warm. Add the jalapenos, cayenne chiles, and 7 cups sugar and heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Stir the entire contents of the pectin pouch. Return the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove pot from the heat.
Quickly skim off any foam and immediately ladle 1/2 cups of the hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean, damp paper towel. Cover with hot lids and apply screw rings. Process half-pint jars in a 200°F water bath for 15 minutes, pint jars for 20 minutes.
Remove the jars from the water and set aside to cool. Once cool, check to see that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the middle of the lid, it should not pop back under your finger. If it hasn’t sealed properly you can store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. The sealed jars will keep, unopened for 1 year.
For the Cheddar Pie Crust Crackers:
Heat oven to 400°F.
Roll out pie crust to 1/4-inch thick and cut into strips or shapes. Lay crackers in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake until crisp and golden, about 10-15 minutes.
It is important to make your own apple juice from fresh apples. Store-bought apple juice will not have enough pectin to firm up the jelly.