Last year my friend Sara was making apple butter, and she said that she went with the standard formula - apples, cider, spices, cook for a long long time, but it was just .... lacking. Then as she stood there, glass of wine in hand, contemplating how to add some depth to her creation, the Muse Of Wine spoke, and she dumped her wine glass into the pot. And ... it was fabulous! So yesterday we made apple butter together, dispensed with the cider and used a spicy dry grenache instead ... the result is a complex rich apple butter that is the most beautiful deep spiced wine color. I am making another batch next weekend for Christmas gifts. This batch (half anyhow!) is all for ME!!! Sara is a genius. —aargersi
- Serves 12 halfp pint jars plus extra for the fridge
bottles spicy dry wine (we used a Spanish grenache)
2 1/2 teaspoons
cinnamon (we used Vietnamese)
fresh ground nutmeg
light brown sugar
juice from 2 lemons
- Peel, core and chop the apples. Don't be fancy, you're going to cook the dickens out of them anyhow. Try not too eat TOO many along the way, a few bites are OK though.
- Put everything is a very large heavy pot. Bring it to a boil then turn it down to a simmer. Cook and stir and check until the apples are tender. We put the lid on askew during this process.
- When the apples are very tender, probably after 45 minutes or so, you do your first blend. We used an immersion blender which is WAY easier than transferring back and forth to a blender or a processor. I recommend you use the next 20% off at Bed Bath and Beyond coupon that comes in the mail to go get one. Blend the apples until they are the consistency of applesauce. Then back to simmering, lid on half cocked. Stir often.
- Now you may as well have lunch because the apples need to cook way down maybe to about 3/4 - 2/3 the original volume - depending on your heat and the pot you are using, 2-3 hours. We had truffled mac and cheese and arrugula with truffle honey vinaigrette. We also watched the Longhorns get creamed once again.
- OK now you are ready to blend that nice thick apple sauce into apple butter. Just stick the immersion blender in there and go to town until is is smooth and creamy. Be careful not to take it too close to the surface, as that results in a tidal wave of apple butter all over the kitchen. Not good.
- We canned most of the apple butter and then saved some for each of us for immediate consumption - we got 12 half pint jars canned plus the fridge portions. It's yum, trust me.