Monday, October 24, 2011
I'm not going to lie, apple butter is not pretty. After a summer of berries and peaches and plums, apple butter looks well, Brown with a capital B. Despite it's less than photogenic appearance, I make a batch every year using this recipe as my guide. Sometimes I add more spices and sometimes less depending on what I can find in my terribly unorganized spice cabinet. You could even try adding some vanilla or bourbon as both taste great with apples. Heck, make a few batches with different flavorings. Apples are CHEAP right now and I'm sure you have a friend or two who would love to help you peel and chop in return for a jar or two of fall spiced goodness.
yield: about 5, 1/2pints of finished butter
adapted from 101cookbooks
4lbs good eatin' apples, peeled, cored and cut into bite sized pieces (I used gala and ginger gold, because they were the cheapest)
3-4 cups apple cider
1 1/2-2 cups sugar (I went with the smaller amount)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
Juice of one lemon
5 sterilized half pint jars and lids
1. In your biggest, heaviest pot combine the apples and enough cider to cover them. Bring to a simmer and cook the apples until tender. A bit of foam will form on the surface that should be skimmed off, it's okay if you can't get it all.
2. When the apples are tender, remove the pot from the heat and puree the mixture until it is smooth (an immersion blender is the best tool for this). Stir in sugar, spices and lemon juice.
3. Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it darkens in color and begins to pop and bubble, about 1-1 1/2 hours. Make sure to watch the pot carefully and stir often in the last 1/2 hour to prevent scorching. I would usually tell you here to cook the butter until it reaches 220º, but I couldn't get mine above 210º and the set turned out perfect. Ladle the hot apple butter into your prepared jars, wipe the rims with a clean towel and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.