Combine the shio-koji and water into a plastic bag, and dissolve the shio-koji over the bag.
Place 1 apple cut into eighths into the plastic bag, and mix together. Let sit for 1 minute.
Place the entire contents of the plastic bag into a pot, coat in honey, cover with a lid, and boil for 15 minutes over low heat. Remove the lid after 15 minutes and evaporate any remaining water.
Add rum to Step 3 for aroma (optional). Arrange onto a plate, and top with cinnamon if you prefer.
Pressure cooker version: Heat for 10 minutes over low heat (it will take 11.5 minutes until the apples float to the top, but you could stop cooking after 10 minutes). Let sit for 5 minutes.
Story Behind this Recipe
Salt heightens the sweetness of watermelons and red bean soups, so I thought adding shio-koji to this compote would similarly bring out the natural sweetness of the apples.
In Step 2, make sure to mix it all together well. The water will come out of the apple faster once the rice malt mixes in, so its okay to boil it for 15 minutes instead of the original 20. Remove the lid after 15 minutes, and boil until there is no water if there is still some remaining (it will evaporate instantly). Keep it warm as-is over low heat.