Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Apple Diaries 2015 - Apple Butter

If you are North American the concept of Apple Butter will be familiar to you.  If you are not, then it quite probably won't!  As I discovered when we lived in Canada, Apple Butter has absolutely nothing to do with butter.  It doesn't contain it, it doesn't resemble it in the least, so why.....?!  I just don't know.  Apple Butter is a kind of apple puree, but extra concentrated so very 'appley' and usually spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc.  It has a very Autumnal flavour to it because of these spices. 

It can be spread on toast, or used to top pancakes, waffles and the like, it's sometimes used in low-fat baking recipes, I like it dolloped on Greek yoghurt as a dessert, or perhaps on granola for breakfast.  I have been pondering using it mixed with mincemeat in mince pies this Christmas too.  So quite a versatile thing to have around.

It's also an amazing way to use up a glut of apples without ending up with more apple-based preserves that you could possibly eat as the apples cook down so much.  Apart from the tedious peeling, coring and chopping involved, it's incredibly easy especially if you use, as I do, a slow cooker to make it.

This is the recipe I use, adapted from the blog Frugal Foodie Mama:

Ingredients:
Enough apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks, to fill your slow cooker.
250ml apple juice (I use one of the small cartons that my son loves)
200g soft brown sugar (mine is slightly tart, you could add a bit more if you prefer it sweeter)
Spices...  it's hard to be specific here, but in my last batch I used about 1 tsp cinnamon, about 1/4 of a nutmeg grated and about 1 tsp from a tin labelled 'mixed spice' which contains all manner of things but definitely cloves from what I can smell!

Method:
Put everything in the slow cooker.
Turn it on to 'high'.
Leave for as many hours as it takes to cook down to a dark brown sludgy mixture!  Mine took maybe 5 or 6 hours.
If it is still looking quite liquid you could leave the lid off the slow cooker to let some of it evaporate, but you are looking for a just-pourable puree.  Some recipes say to blend it until smooth but mine always cooks down to a smooth puree anyway, must be the Bramleys I use.
Taste (for sweetness) and then pot (while hot) in sterilised glass jars.

Not exactly a detailed or complex recipe, but these pictures may help.  You are basically looking for it to turn from this...


Into this...


It doesn't look particularly attractive, but it tastes great.  I'll definitely need to make another batch though as this is all I have to show for it...



1 comment:

Snowy said...

I love apple butter, but not making any this year. Think it was your post of CBL that inspired to try making it when we in France.