Slowly Oven Cooked Apple Butter

Autumn is coming!  Well sort of, I am always disappointed that we don't really have a 'proper' autumn in Hong Kong.  I miss the changing colours of the leaves and the need for cosy sweaters.  There is a less dramatic change of seasons in Hong Kong but it is still my favourite time of year; rainy season passes, the humidity drops and sunny, breezy days make it the best time of year to enjoy the outdoors.

I love this time of year for cooking; apple pies, slow-cooked casseroles, homebaked bread, warming soups.  Even if I do need to crank up the air-con to pretend that it is cold outside!  Only kidding! I had never actually heard of apple butter until I saw it listed in a recipe a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it sounded interesting!  Anything that combines apples and cinnamon is always a winner in my book!  So I started Googling recipes and most told me that it was best to make it the traditional way on the stove, others suggested a slow cooker, but whilst I neither own a slow cooker, nor have the patience to stir a pot of apples for hours, I decided to try just mixing it up and putting it in the oven at a low temperature.  It worked well, was really easy, and the smell whilst it was cooking was incredible.  I am very happy with how it turned out and am now shamelessly trying to incorporate it into every type of baked good that I can think ok!  Recipes for Apple Butter Pancakes and Spice Apple Cake to come.....!

RECIPE

Ingredients

2 Kgs Apples, peeled, cored and chopped.  I used Granny Smiths.

150g Granulated sugar

150g Light soft brown sugar

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Mixed spice

1/2 Tsp Ground cloves

1/2 Tsp Ground ginger

Juice of a lemon 

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 130 degrees centigrade.
  2. Mix apples, sugar, spices and lemon juice in a large heavy casserole dish with a lid.  I used a cast iron one.
  3. Cook covered for 3.5 hours, checking and stirring every 30 minutes.  If at any point it looks too dry then add some water.  As it cooks the apples will start to break down and the colour will darken.  At the end of the 3.5 hours I found that there was still a lot of liquid so I cooked it for a further 30 minutes uncovered so that it could thicken up a bit.
  4. The final result should be dark brown and quite thick, like a thick jam.  If you want it to be super smooth you can puree with a hand blender.
  5. This recipe makes quite a sweet apple butter that is perfect for using in baking, but the sweetness will vary depending on the type of apples that you use.  If you find it too sweet then just decrease the amount of sugar.
 Sweetly spiced apple butter smells like fall.

Sweetly spiced apple butter smells like fall.