Date: Mon, 4 Dec 95 18:57:30 CST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jake Gibson)
Jake's Apple Butter (precision recipe)
Buy lots of apples, and leave some on the kitchen counter, instead of
refrigerating. Several days later decide 'really better do something
with all those apples'. Section them, coring, but not peeling. Sixths
or eighths, I guess. Pile in a pot (use a bigger one than I did - no more
than 2/3 full), with some water (an inch or two... 2 to 5 cm) and bring to
a boil. Turn it down, cover, and simmer for 4-6 hours _really_low_. Stir
once in a while. Keep at least a little water in the bottom. Let the pot
cool to room temperature.
My method - piling the pot chock full - involved a half hour of cleaning
apple splatters off the stove top, wall, and nearby objects. Use the bigger
pot, and skip this step.
Now lose the pot in the back of a malfunctioning fridge for a week (the temp
hovers at 31-33 degrees F). Remove pot from fridge, set in sink,
and mash up all the soft, slushy apple pieces by hand. You can lick your
fingers occasionally, if nobody's looking. Dump the slush in a big
microwavable container (again, no more than 1/2 or 2/3 full). Add enough
sugar. Heck, how do I know what's enough; you haven't told me how many
apples you started with. A half cup to two cups per quart of slush, I
guess. Dump in two to four tablespoons of cinnamon, and a teaspoon or
two of nutmeg. Per quart-or-so of apples, that is. If you like really
spicy apple butter, add a bit of molasses too, as much as a tablespoon of
the milder kind, or teaspoon of Real Molasses. Stir well. Cover.
Microwave on a medium setting for 3-5 minutes at a time, separated by 5-7
minute gaps (i.e while you're cooking something else, go goose it every
once in a while). Some time along here you'll want to treat your
fingers for the frostbite you probably incurred during the mashing step.
Stir every time you restart the microwave. Do this until it seems done,
maybe an hour or so. You could approximate this process on the stove,
but you might incur the apple-splatter-cleanup step above.
Finicky eaters, or those preparing for finicky eaters may want to remove
the apple skins at some point. I always used to, mashing cooked apples
through a food mill or hmmmm ?ricer? (round and round goes the half-a-
rolling-pin, in a conical colander thingey). Do leave the skin on
through at least the first cooking step, though - it helps add a nice color
to the apple butter. Assuming some were red-skinned, that is.
A similar procedure will suffice for pumpkin butter, pear butter, or peach
butter. I'd probably skin the punkins or peaches :-).
Apple butter is a necessity for cooking with our bread machine. I always
used to 'test' the first slice, hot, straight from the machine, with a
big smear of b*tt*r. Apple butter makes just as good a bread-testing
spread. Still beaucoups of calories, so watch out how many slices you're
tempted to test. As a waistline concession, I no longer feel obligated
to test _both_ ends of the loaf immediately.