You know it’s fall when the first request for apple butter shows up. This year, it’s via Vera Anderson of Sultan, who tells us, “It’s been a long time since I have made apple butter, and I would very much like to have a recipe.”
Past experience leads us to believe that other requests for this old-time spread are bound to follow shortly, so we’ll just forestall any potential panic — right here and right now — with three timely tried-and-true ways to batch up some butter.
Real cook-savers, they cook to perfection in the oven, not on the stove top, to eliminate constant stirring. They also come in different sizes, so you can choose the perfect fit for your needs, and all three originally appeared in the Sept. 28, 2005, Forum column.
Bothell cook Cathie Relf offered us a small-batch recipe and told us, “This really turns out quite yummy!”
A medium-size batch was shared by Diane Sheridan of Everett, who noted the recipe was taken from a copy of Country Living Magazine, and said, “I’ve made this several times and it turns out great!’
For a large batch, you’ll want to try this longtime favorite of Arlington cook Nola Taylor, who wrote, “Here is a wonderful apple butter recipe for the oven. I got it in the 1960s from a special Kenmore neighbor, Virginia Underwood. Try it; it’s superb.”
OVEN-BAKED APPLE BUTTER
1cup apple cider
2teaspoons apple pie spice or 1/2 teaspoon each nutmeg and allspice plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Peel and core apples, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in large saucepan and pour cider over them. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes or until apples are soft. Remove pan from heat and cool the mixture until it is only warm to the touch.
Divide it into two batches and puree each in the bowl of food processor or blender.
Pour all of the pureed fruit into a large baking dish, sprinkle with the spices and stir well. Spread out the mixture evenly in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 to 3 hours or until your apple butter is deep brown and thick. Stir every 20 minutes.
Cool the butter, then put into a clean jar with a sealable lid. It will keep for up to 2 months in your refrigerator.
Makes 11/2 cups.
OVEN-MADE APPLE BUTTER
6pounds cooking apples
21/2cups granulated sugar
1/2cup brown sugar
2teaspoons ground cinnamon
1teaspoon ground nutmeg
2tablespoons lemon juice
Peel, core and slice apples in eighths; place in large, heavy saucepan and add water. Cover tightly and cook 5 minutes over moderate heat. Stir and add a little more water if pot appears dry. Uncover and continue cooking until apples are tender, about 3 to 5 minutes longer.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cooked apple mixture with remaining ingredients in a large, deep, heatproof baking dish. Bake 3 to 4 hours until thick and dark, stirring occasionally. A spoonful of the cooked butter should have almost no liquid surrounding it when done. Apple butter keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.
To can: Ladle apple butter into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Wipe jar rims. Add lids and process in boiling-water bath 5 minutes.
Makes 4 pints.
VIRGINIA AND NOLA’S OVEN-BAKED APPLE BUTTER
2cups (or less) water
Sugar, cinnamon, cloves and allspice
Peel, core and slice enough apples to fill an 8-quart Dutch oven. Add water. Cook down, then run through a food mill or food processor. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Measure into an open roaster (think turkey roaster here) 2 quarts of the apple pulp, 4 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cloves and 1/2 teaspoon allspice. Repeat this measuring process with the pulp, sugar and spices until the roaster is full.
Stir it all together and bake until it heaps in a spoon. It took 31/2 hours in my roaster — but this could vary. Stir occasionally.
When done, remove roaster from oven and allow apple butter to cool. Ladle into suitable containers and freeze.
The next Forum will appear in Friday’s Time Out section.