Apple butter is good on so many things– pancakes or waffles, smeared between layers of spice cake or gingerbread, toast or as a topping for thumb print cookies. It’s smooth and spicy; a deliciously condensed cider-y goodness. And despite popular notion, making fruit butter isn’t a difficult process. The recipe listed below is adapted from one in “Halloween” by Martha Stewart. It will make about 2/12 cups, and will store in the fridge for up to two weeks, if it lasts that long.
2 pounds apples, peeled and cut into quarters
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (I prefer light)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1.) Bring apples, cider and water to a boil and simmer 20 minutes until apples are soft.
2.) Pass through a food mill fitted with a medium disk. (Don’t panic if you don’t have one of these– just use a potato masher or a fork to mash up the apples, then force it through a sieve– it will do the same thing and you’ll give your arms a good workout).
3.) Return the apples to the pan and add the remaining ingredients. It’s very important that the heat be on low– the apples will need to cook down for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until very thick and dark brown. You want to stir it occassionally and watch it to make sure it doesn’t stick and burn.
4.) When cool, serve or package and refrigerate.
Don’t let the long cooking time put you off from trying to make your own fruit butter. Here’s a hint– make apple butter when you plan on doing a lot of baking– put the apple butter on the back of the stove, then move on to your bread and cookies and brownies. You’ll be in the kitchen working on the other stuff so you can keep a close eye on the butter. Apple butter is a Saturday afternoon project, not a Tuesday night after work project. But it’s worth it– with a close eye and a little time, you’ll have a fantastic batch of home made apple butter and an assortment of baked goods to serve it with!