I love apple butter. It is one of those foods that signifies fall. I love it on toast, on English muffins and on biscuits.
I usually buy my apple butter at the farmers market, but for this challenge I took the plunge and made my own. Turns out, it isn’t that hard to do. You just need to have time, patience and the foresight not make it on a fluke fall day where the temps soar over 70 degrees and humidity is out of control.
The next time I make apple butter, I’ll do it in February. Not that I’ll need to make some any time soon. This recipe makes A LOT of butter.
Combine apples, cider and Calvados in a large Dutch oven, and bring to a boil, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until apples are very soft, about 30 minutes.
Working in batches, transfer apples to food mill and process. Discard skins and transfer puree to now-empty Dutch oven. Stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is browned and wooden spoon or rubber spatula leaves a distinct trail when dragged across the bottom of the pot, 1 to 1.5 hours.
Transfer apple butter to jar with a tight-fitting lid and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Apple butter can be refrigerated up to 1 month.
Source: The America’s Test Kitchen D.I.Y. Cookbook (Boston Common Press; Oct. 1, 2012)
NOTE: If you don’t have a food mill, you can skip that while step by peeling the skins from your apples before putting them in the Dutch oven. That’s what I did, as my husband is still giving me grief about the juicer and probably wouldn’t appreciate my bringing a food mill into the house.
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