Monday, July 14, 2008

Apple Butter

Apple butter is deeeeelicious. I don't like store bought apple butter, it's just too sickeningly sweet. I also am not fond of many recipes for the same reason, folks try to shortcut the long, slow caramelization of the natural sugars by adding extra refined sugar. Sorry kids, it's just not the same. I prefer to taste the sugars in the apples themselves after they've slowly caramelized - not some nasty ass high fructose corn syrup. Blech. So, it'll take a little time and a little effort, but it's worth it. The complexity of flavors from the apples and spices really shines through, if you have the patience. Mmm-mmm good!

P.S. If you don't have a splatter guard, go get one. Don't even try to make this recipe without one. You'll be cleaning apple butter splurts off your kitchen for weeks and, as I once upon a time found, this shit burns on contact. You may also wish to use a heat diffuser if you own one, to further guard against burning the apples.

Apple Butter

Makes approx. 1 1/2 pints

3 lbs. Granny Smith apples
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Peel the apples, don't be meticulous, if a little peel gets left on it's all for the better. Core the apples. Chop into fairly uniform chunks.

2. Combine with water in 6-8 quart pot. Bring to a boil, cook until apples are softened.

3. Add sugars and spices, stir to thoroughly coat apples.

4. Using an immersion blender puree apples until completely smooth.

5. Lower temperature to medium-low. Adjust to keep at a constant simmer.

6. Stir, scraping bottom, every 10-15 minutes - depending on rate of simmer - for 4-5 hours.

7. Apple butter is finished when color has turned to a dark, deep brown and the flavor has turned from sugary sweet to caramel-like.

8. Serving suggestions: On a toasted english muffin with cream cheese - it's delish!


Melissa said...

Looove apple butter!

Once apple season rolls around in September, I'll have to go out to the local orchard and do it with fresh picked!

I'm assuming this recipe should always be done with the sourer varieties that hold up to baking?

Madam Chow said...

Thank you for posting this - I love apple butter, but rarely eat it because I can only handle the sickeningly sweet stuff in small doses. I'm bookmarking this for the fall!

Sweet Bird said...

Melissa: Granny Smith's are my personal favorite for everything, but the first time I made apple butter I used a combo of Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and even a few Red Delicious. My mom gave me a box of apples from a friend who owned an orchard and I just used what I had. It turned out amazing. So, I say mix and match with whatever your preference is!

Madame Chow: I completely agree. People shouldn't cheapen something as amazing as apple butter with tons of sugar. I feel the same way about people who caramelize their onions for less than two hours when making French Onion Soup. It's nice to find a kindred spirit!

EAT! said...

Your apple butter would be delicious on my morning toast. I will have to make a batch. I also like a mix of apples when making applesauce and pies.

Nickki said...

Yum. I'm definitely trying this. I've always wanted to make apple butter!

Indigo said...

I've actually never had apple butter, and now I'm wondering why. Definitely one I'm trying. Any idea how long it keeps for?

Sweet Bird said...

Indigo: Depending on how you process it after it's made apple butter can last from a few weeks in the fridge to a couple years. I canned mine in a water canner, which is way easier than it sounds.

Just buy the canning jars at Target with the lids and bands, wash and boil the jars to sterilize them, fill them, put the lids on, tighten the bands and boil them in a covered pot for ten minutes. Super easy and the canned product is safe for at least a year.

cookiecrumb said...

Canning!!! Eeek!
I know, I must. But...

SB, I'm glad to have found you via your comments on my blog. I love Central California.
You write an intelligent, relevant blog.

Sweet Bird said...

cookiecrumb: Thank you! I love being relevant. Seriously, that is an awesome compliment.

I especially love your blog, it has been dutifully bookmarked since I found you.

Alicia Carrier said...

oh crap, this sounds divine. do you think it's something that can be done in a crock pot, or is the stirring absolutely crucial?

Sweet Bird said...

Alicia - I've actually heard of some pretty successful apple butters made in a crock pot. I've never tried it myself, well, because I just bought myself my first crock pot like a week ago...

Shh...don't tell anyone.

Daniela said...

I LOVE APPLE BUTTER. I'm going to try this for christmas!