Feels a little more like fall here in San Diego. Temperatures have definitely dropped. It’s chilly outside in the morning, perfect weather in the afternoon. I shifted to fall flavors a few weeks back. Started thinking about comfort foods, Thanksgiving, and fruits like apples, pears, plums, and apricots. Making cinnamon apple butter was a must.
I’m a big fan of soups and stews, and I tend to make them a good deal more when the weather cools down. They are excellent when fresh, and even better the next day when the flavors have had a chance to meld. These largely one pot meals are perfect heading into the holidays for both the change of pace, and convenience. I’m planning for several big holiday meals, while trying to think through dozens of dessert ideas.
It always helps to have go to sauces, purees, fruit and nut butters to help quickly create new and classic sweet and savory dishes. Apple butter is at or near the top of that list. First its seriously delicious. By the spoonful, spread on a toasted English muffin, or embellishing a simple dessert, it has instant appeal. The apples have been concentrated into a very versatile flavor package. Small amounts go a long way.
As I prep for Thanksgiving, a big batch of apple butter is a must. Its apple season and time to take advantage. The final product will make its way into cinnamon rolls, muffins, pop tarts, cheesecake, doughnuts and fritters, as well as frosting for cupcakes and my new apple butter tart. It’s that good, and seriously easy to make. There are several ways to approach the process. Peels on, peels off. Leave the core, remove the core. The peels have nice flavor and the cores contain natural pectin. Both offer added benefits, but I choose to go the clean route.
I prefer to peel and core about 12 large apples. I end up with a pile of apple pieces. They all go into the slow cooker. I add apple cider, honey, maple syrup, and some spices to the apples. The apples are slow cooked on low for 6 to 8 hours to soften and meld the flavors. The result is a flavorful apple butter that that has an excellent consistency and is perfect for a myriad of uses.
Once the apples have been slow cooked, they need to be pureed. Food processor, blender, immersion blender will all do the trick. At this point you can return the apples to the slow cooker, leave the lid off and cook on low for another hour or two to reduce the liquid in the apple puree. Alternatively, you can finish the job on the stovetop in a saucepan over low heat, in slightly less time. The puree thickens as it simmers, moisture escapes and the mixture takes on a smooth softened butter like consistency.
Cool the apple butter completely before storing in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to a week. Freeze for several months.
The apples breakdown quickly under the heat of the slow cooker. If blended at an early stage you have apple sauce. Cook 5 to 8 hours on low, and you have apple puree.
Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
Cinnamon Apple Butter
- Slow cooker
- 2000 grams peeled and cored red apple (about 12 large)
- 240 grams apple cider or juice (1 cup)
- 40 grams pure maple syrup (2 tablespoons)
- 40 grams organic honey (2 tablespoons)
- 8 grams ground cinnamon (1 tablespoon)
- 1 gram ground nutmeg (1/2 teaspoon)
- Add peeled and cored red apple, apple cider, pure maple syrup, organic honey, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg to slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
- Puree apple mixture in food processor. Return puree to slow cooker and cook, uncovered, on LOW for 1 more hour, or until the liquid has reduced to desired consistency.
- Cool the apple butter completely before storing in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to a week. Freeze for several months.