Thursday, October 20, 2011

Apple Butter

Before last month, I had no idea what apple butter was. I know what you’re thinking: that I must lead a sheltered life. That may be the case, but at least I’m not as sheltered as my friends who don’t even know what an ampersand is! Ok, I kid. They made fun of me for knowing what one is, so I had to get them back somehow.

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I first heard about apple butter from Pinterest. (I promise that one day, I’ll go back to cook books for my recipes!) The recipe that I had read was quite the process, taking 22 hours and involved a slow cooker. I contemplated using that recipe, but wasn’t quite committed to something that require so much of my time, especially if I didn’t even know if I like apple butter. I did some Googling around and came across this recipe from chef Michael Smith. It looked easy enough, so I was sold.

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The process is quite easy and didn’t require me to stand at the stove the entire time, which I liked. It’s not a large batch that you would can, but I did get three decent sized jars out of it. I wrapped up 2 of them to pass along to my family and already have had requests for more. Wondering what the heck to do with apple butter? Stephen and I heated it up and used it as an ice cream topping, which was seriously delicious. I may have done that more than once. I’ve also spread it on toast, and it apparently tastes good swirled into some yogurt or oatmeal. I’m thinking of making a bigger batch and canning it to last me (and my family) the winter!

Apple Butter
from Chef Michael Smith

10 apples (recommended: Spartans, Macs, Granny Smiths. I used what I had on hand: Gala)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 tsp vanilla

1. Peel apples. Core and quarter them.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, until apples soften.
3. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced by about 80% and is thick and dark.
4. Using a food processor, puree the mixture. Let cool, then store in an airtight container.


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