Previous falls have found me on apple picking excursions where I seem to overzealously use my fruit picker, resulting in a bounty of apples that one couple alone can hardly consume. In these times of extreme harvests, I need to justify this apple excess. I'm always on the lookout for good ways to use pounds of apples: pies, crisps, applesauce, and most recently, apple butter.
Four pounds of mixed apples are cooked until softened, then puréed in a blender until very smooth. Then it's back to the pot where they slowly simmer for hours with sugar and spices until the mixture becomes a deep brown, very thick, and fits nicely into one mason jar.
Now I haven't gone apple picking yet this season but as I sat on the porch on one of the first crisp, clear fall days, eating this sweet and appropriately spiced spread on a crusty baguette, I felt the desire to get out to the orchard and haul back boxes of apples to fill my kitchen.
- 4 lbs of mixed good cooking apples (such as Fuji, Granny Smith, or Courtland), peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks
- 1 cup apple cider
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoons ground allspice
Place apple and apple cider in a large heavy pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook until apples are completely tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Place half of the apples in the jar of a blender and purée until completely smooth. Pour into a medium bowl and repeat with remaining apples.
Pour puréed apples back into large pot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until sauce turns a deep brown and thickens, about 1 to 2 hours, stirring regularly to prevent burning.
Let apple butter cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.