Brown Sauce (HP to us Brits!)…

I really fancied the idea of making some HP sauce with the tomatoes and apples from the garden (the apples are the first from our family apple tree, planted last year, they were growing on the ‘golden delicious’ branch).


I googled just about every recipe there is and found a huge variation in ingredients and methods, but this is what I went for:


1.5-2kg fresh tomatoes (I didn’t measure them – duh! sorry)

These were roasted until completely soft then pushed through a sieve.  You could substitute with tinned puree (x 2) or just tinned tomatoes (x 2).  In the case of both, especially the puree, I’d also add a bit of water.

4 small apples, peeled, cored and chopped

3 small onions, peeled and chopped

60 g pitted dates

60 g prunes

I blitzed the above in my ‘chopper’ then added them to the tomato puree and simmered on a low heat until completely soft again.  At this point, most people then just blend the mixture, but I blended it then passed through a sieve again, as I really liked the idea of a smooth sauce.

(Next time, I’ll just simmer all the above, along with the tomatoes as one stage, as I do when making tomato sauce and then pass it all through a sieve instead of doing it in two stages).

250 ml orange juice

250 ml apple juice

200 ml cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

3 tablespoons tamarind

3 tablespoons black treacle

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

3/4 teaspoon celery salt

All the above were added to the new puree, along with the spices below, which I tied into a muslin cloth.

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon whole allspice

1 clove of garlic (bruised)

1 bay leaf

2 blades of mace

1 small stick of cinnamon

It was all simmered again, and reduced until it reached the consistency I liked.  I then bottled it up into sterilised jars and bottles, that were warming in the oven (15 mins in an oven at about 150 degrees), I used some great posh apple juice bottles that have quite wide tops so are perfect for this thick sauce.


I ended up with three jars, which is not a lot for all the work involved and even though I tasted it many times (I stood there at the fridge, looking like a crazy lady, swapping between HP, TipTree and my own, trying to compare them all), once it had cooled and I tried it again I’m not sure the flavours are strong enough.  I think I’d go for more vinegar and add some brown sugar (or more treacle) and perhaps even more spices next time.

Will there be a next time?  Probably, I quite like the idea of making HP, but I don’t think I’d use my own tomatoes; their beautiful flavour, which makes such an amazing puree for pizza toppings, if not eaten fresh, is kind of wasted on this.  Still, with the late warm weather that has suddenly arrived, there is quite a good chance we’ll have even more red tomatoes to come 🙂


8 thoughts on “Brown Sauce (HP to us Brits!)…

  1. What a huge list of ingredients! I like the way you split it up into batches of ingredients, then the method etc.. Fascinating to see if you can make it yourself though. The proportions of the ingredients must be top secret at H.P. headquarters!

  2. What a lovely idea to make some HP! Henry loves HP sauce, I shall have to try to make some one day 🙂 Good to see what you used and your tips for next time, still must be very satisfying to make your own! Its good to make it home made and I bet it doesn’t have all the ‘baddies’ eg. to much sugar etc…so defiantly worth the effort! safxxx

    • It was fun, I recommend it but I think my recipe needs quite a bit of tinkering to taste more like proper HP, it’s still nice though, a kind of half tomato, half HP sauce flavour. Bx

  3. Such beautiful apples!
    We have several apple trees for years and we don’t even have one
    apple. Enjoy the brown sauce! By the way, is this something uniquely
    British? I don’t think it’s common here. -Lillian

    • We are surrounded by huge apple trees from the old orchards, but they grow so tall you can’t get to the apples. There is a beauty right next to the house, on the lane with amazing red eating apples, sadly the people who keep horses near by pick them just before they are ripe to feed to the horses, so we don’t get to taste them any more. As for HP, yes it’s s Brit thing, but quite famous…..the nearest I can guess it tastes like, is a kind of BBQ sauce, but with more vinegar. Bx

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