Today's recipe is apple butter, which, contrary to its name, is actually a thicker apple jam. I thought it would be a nice recipe to make in time for Easter morning, perfectly paired with some hot cross buns, croissants, pan de sal or whatever bread you have at the moment. It can also be used as a spread on crackers, cheese, butter cookies, pancakes and even a grilled cheese sandwich.
Making this brings me cheer because not only are apples my favourite fruit, but also, stewing apple butter makes our place smell so nice for hours. The rest of the jam can be bottled and preserved in the fridge or freezer for future use.
For this recipe, I used Granny Smith because its crisp tartness offsets the sugary taste when combining the ingredients together, but you can use any kind of apple, be it Granny Smith, Delicious Red, Fuji, Gala or Red Washington. Other recipes may call for peeling the apples before coring and chopping them, but hey, save yourself the extra effort and keep the skin intact (once you've cleaned the apples thoroughly under running water, of course), because apple skin has pectin, a natural starch that can thicken sauce and conserves, not to mention, help digestion and prevent high cholesterol. As you keep stirring the apples, they will break the acidity from the sugar, and build thickness that makes your apple jam, well, buttery.
Cooking time: 3 hours
Yield: Makes about 750 ml apple butter
6 medium apples, cored and quartered
3/4 cup apple cider
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1.5 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup Don Papa Rum (optional)
1. In a Dutch oven, combine apples, apple cider, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until the apples are mushy. You can mash the apples further by using the back of a wooden spoon.
2. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and spices. Place lid on and simmer for 2 hours. Stir every 10-15 minutes to make sure the apples don’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Pour rum and vanilla extract in between the 2-hour interval. If you are making this toddler- or child-friendly, skip the rum.
3. Remove lid and mush remaining apple bits. You can also use an immersion blender if you want a smooth, puree-like consistency. Leave to cool for 20 minutes.
4. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container or in clean glass jars. The butter can last for 3 weeks in the fridge; 5 weeks in the freezer.