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Apple butter

LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,210
Hi folks!  I need some help with my apple butter, please, if anyone out there has made it successfully...

I followed a combination of online recipes using our not-wonderful early cooking apples, cooked in cider.  One recipe suggested boiling the sieved & sweetened fruit for 15 minutes until it thickens, then potting it.  All other recipes told me to boil it for around an hour, stirring frequently, until there was no "free" liquid and the mixture had thickened.

I assume the first method uses the pectin in the fruit to set it, and is a sort of apple jam.  Because our apples are a bit lacking in flavour, I wanted to concentrate them down a bit, so chose the second method.  After 2 hours' boiling (during which I stirred and stirred and read half a novel...) there was still some remaining liquid... the bit on the saucer in the fridge was reasonably set in the morning, but still doesn't have a great deal of flavour, in spite of the cider and 2 teaspoons of mixed spice.

So.  What should I do with 6 jars of not-very-good apple butter?  Should I donate it to a sale of work (preferably in a distant county, so people can't complain about it) or re-boil it, until it's really REALLY thick?  And should I add anything extra now?  More spice?
"The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore

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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 74,902
    I don't expect mine to be 'set' ... just like a cinnamony thick-ish apple sauce ... a bit softer than lemon curd ... and I freeze mine in batches (takeaway containers)  and spread it on toast or have in dollops on porridge/muesli.  
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 74,902
    @Liriodendron ... while we're on the subject of lovely appley things, I thought you might like this recipe from my friend Uschi in Germany

    She says ... "I once had something like that at a friend's and made my own version later on.

    Give me a second to translate it.

    What sugar do you use to make jam in the UK? Ours is called "jam sugar" and contains pectins and whatever else you need. There are various varieties, 1:1 (same amount of fruit to jam sugar), 2:1 two parts fruit to one part jam sugar is what I have used here.

    Baked apple marzipan jam with rum raisins (Uschi's)

    1 kg tart apples
    100 g raw marzipan
    400 ml apple juice
    750 g jam sugar 2:1
    rum raisins/sultanas to taste
    cinnamon
    vanilla
    lemon juice (for the apples)
    2-3 schnapps glasses of 43 liqueur (or calvados/obstler)

    peel and core the apples and cut them into small pieces, sprinkle and mix them with a little lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.
    Pluck the marzipan into small pieces, pour over the apple juice and mix with a hand blender to a creamy liquid. Pour over the apple pieces and then add the jam sugar, cinnamon and vanilla (paste, sugar, essence, pod, doesn't matter) and stir in.

    Leave everything to stand for about 1 hour and then boil for about 5 minutes (until the foam is gone). Then stir in the rum sultanas and liqueur and pour into jars

    If you feel like experimenting, then chopped almonds or hazelnuts may be added. ..."

    I've not tried it ... but next time someone gives me their apple glut this is top of the list ... 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 19,294
    I’ve never knowingly made apple butter, but I looked it up in my favourite cookbook - James Beard’s American Cookery.  Here’s what he has to say:



    And if ya’ll want to mosey a little way further down the path, here’s the fruit leather “recipe”:


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,210
    Thank you, @Dovefromabove.  "A bit softer than lemon curd" about describes it, so perhaps I'll leave it as it is... I potted it hot into sterilised jars, like ordinary jam, so hopefully it'll keep.  No room in the freezer!  My SIL is nuts about all things appley, so maybe I'll give him a jar or two to put on porridge.   :)

    That apple marzipan jam recipe looks amazing.  One to try next year, I think!
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,210
    Thanks, @pansyface.  I had a suspicion it was an American invention.  The oven cooking method looks like a good one to try, if I do decide to re-boil it.

    I've never made fruit leather, and I don't have a woodshed (with or without a roof!) - but thanks, another possibility for another year, if we get a glut.  We only had a few fruit - all windfalls, thanks to Storm Ellen - last year, because the bullfinches ate almost all the buds.  I'm not sure why they left us a lot of blossom this year, resulting in enough fruit to supply the neighbourhood (helpfully mostly on the lower branches of the tree, so I could reach to pick them).
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 74,902
    My Russian ex DIL's Baboushka in central Russia made all sorts of fruit leather i and stored it on top of the big linen cupboard to keep it away from unauthorised raids by children ... she once sent me some plum leather ... it was wonderful ... sort of a bit like fruit gums ... only chewier.  Delicious
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 19,294
    It sounds marvellous. Certainly a better idea than hanging it up in the attic.

    Our attic is where all the blowflies of the Derbyshire Dales go to hibernate. If we ever have to go up there in winter it’s like a scene from a Hitchcock film as they slowly wake up and begin to buzz around your ears. 😖
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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