Monday, 11 November 2013
I can't think of a jam or spread that is butter suited for fall than apple butter. Although there is no actual butter in the recipe, it is mostly apples. It's like apple sauce 2.0. Peeled and cored apples are cooked down in a slow cooker with a little brown sugar and autumn spices making a dark, thick, not too sweet piece of heaven. Aside from requiring a slow cooker or cock pot, this is a very easy recipe. It days take a whole day to make, so bear that in mind.
To start, you're going to need some apples. I got a variety of different apples from the farmer's market (red delicious, golden delicious, northern spy and gala). Using a variety of apples with different flavours will make a more complex and interesting apple butter. If you have enough of just one kind of apple, don't let it stop you. You'll need about five cups of peeled, cored and chopped apples. For 5 cups of apples, you only need 2/3 cups of sugar. If you are using all sour apples (like granny smiths or spies) opt for a full cup of sugar to counteract the sourness.
5 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2/3 cup brown or golden sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Place your chopped apples into your slow cooker.
Add all of the sugar, spices and salt and give it a stir (the easiest method is with clean hands).
Place the lid on your slow cooker and set it to high. Let it cook for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Over time the juice will leak out of the apples and they will begin to break down into an apple sauce consistency.
When the apples completely fall apart, switch from a spoon to a whisk. Whisking the apple butter (rather than stirring) will create a smoother finished product.
When the four hours are up, lower the heat to the low setting and set the timer for six hours. Every now and then, give it a whisk. When not whisking, keep the lid on.
In the next next step, we want the apple butter to reduce some more and thicken up. Turn the heat back on high, and this time leave the slow cooker uncovered. 2 hours should do the trick but you can let it reduce until it as at your liking. While it's reducing, your batch may splatter a little bit. You can use a splatter guard or the crock pot's lid only set ajar. That way steam can still escape while the sauce reduces but you don't end up with little brown splashes everywhere.
Finally, you will have dark, thick, sweet, sticky apple butter.
The perfect consistency of apple butter is one where if you take a spoonful of it, it stays in place on the spoon. If it's not at that stage, let it cook some more on high without the lid.
Homemade apple butter will keep in your fridge for about a couple of weeks. If you can it, it will keep for several months. It makes a fantastic edible gift. You can eat it on toast, crumpets, bagels, cinnamon rolls, muffins, pancakes, shortbread... you name it! You can even use it in savoury applications like cheese and crackers and meats and it makes an outstanding base as a barbecue sauce for poultry and pork.
Give this a try. It takes a whole day to make but very little effort or skill is involved. Not to mention it will fill your home with the most inviting smell of fall.