Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Freakin' Awesome Apple Butter

Who's gone apple picking and, deluded (mesmerized??) by the Rockwellian outdoorsy perfection of it all, came home with 40 pounds of apples?  This gal!  Don't get me wrong. I love apples.  But after weeks of making apple cake, apple muffins, pork roast with apples, and, of course, eating them raw (many, many raw apples), you start running out of ideas.  What uses up a lot of apples, tastes delicious, and is freezer-friendly?  Apple butter!  If you're the canning sort, you could can this and give as gifts.

I don't have pictures of the process, because, well, it's me and I forgot. No worries, though, because it's kind of hard to screw up boiling and pureeing.  BUT, I do have a picture of the finished product:

I've never made apple butter before, so I went looking for recipes and found one that boils the apples to soften them, then bakes the puree in a "slow" oven (old-timey phrase to describe an oven that's not really hot) for a long time.  This method creates a wonderfully deep flavor, so I really recommend giving this a try, despite the time commitment. Even I was skeptical, but the results are absolutely fabulous!  When my husband tried it, he actually said, "This is freakin' AWESOME!"

Marna's Freakin' Awesome Apple Butter

10 apples (I used a mix of different kinds), peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups apple cider
2/3 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp dried, ground ginger

Combine diced apples (the apples don't really have to be uniform size, this is a pretty forgiving recipe), apple cider, and sugar in a 4 or 5 quart pot.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down to medium-low and simmer about 30 minutes, or until apples are tender.  When apples have cooked, blend (using an immersion blender) or mash (using a potato masher) until smooth.  Again, if there are chunks, that's okay, because it's going to cook more. Add the cinnamon, cloves and ginger, then stir to combine.

Lightly butter a baking dish large enough to hold the the apple puree, approximately 2 inches deep (I used a 10 inch x 12 inch dish, but an 11x7 inch dish would work, too). Bake puree for 4 hours at 275 degrees, stirring every hour, or until thick and of a spreading consistency.  Let cool for about an hour, then cover and chill.  Makes about 3 cups.

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