As autumn arrives, everyone’s all about the pumpkin flavored items. Pumpkin lattes appeared here in August. You can now find pumpkin bread, pumpkin tea, and even pumpkin sodas all over the place. But what about the apple? Apples are equally indicative of the approach of the cooler months. Plus I know that everyone of my friends living in the Northeast will soon be posting their apple picking pictures. You’ll need a good recipe for all of those apples.
Well how happy would you be if I told you that you can so many foods taste just like apple pie without having to actually make a pies? I image you’d be about as happy as I was while licking this apple butter directly off of a spatula last night as I scraped the pot I cooked it in. I brought a batch of this apple butter to work and had one coworker say that it tastes just like pie and another carefully spooned it onto each bite of his morning bagel. I really do delight in feeding my friends.
You can find a lot of recipes for apple butter that involve apple juice and an insane amount of brown sugar, but I wanted mine to be a bit healthier while still being just as delicious. I scaled back on the brown sugar and used water instead of juice. Ya know what? It tastes just as good, if not better due to it being fairly guiltless.
As the apples cook down they release some of their liquid which helps keep the sugars from burning, but be careful to keep your pan low enough to avoid all of the liquids cooking away. Enjoy this on breads for breakfast or as an afternoon treat. It would also probably taste delicious atop a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
makes 3 cups
2 pounds (about 4) apples (gala, honey crisp, fuji)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Peel and core the apples and cut each one into eight slices. Put the apples into a large saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water and the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the liquids in the pot to a simmer over low heat and let cook, covered, for an hour stirring occasionally. Use an immersion blender to puree the softened apple mixture in the pan until the lumps are gone or transfer it to a blender or food processor to puree and pour it back into the saucepan. The puree will be thick. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water to the apple butter and stir until it has loosened. Cook uncovered for another 45 minutes. Let cool completely before transferring to a refrigerator safe container. Apple butter keeps in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.