These days our household's main cooking and eating focus has been all about using up the leftovers Remember my huge apple picking expedition back in October? Well, after eating, and eating (and eating!) more tiny Golden Russets than I care to remember, we still had ourselves a good lot of them sitting in our basement cantina. While they weren't moulding or even bruised, they were beginning to get a wee bit past their fresh-eating prime. Ironically, looking back on October's post, one of the first things I did with the bevy of Russets was to make the same thing I did to finish the harvest... butter!
Normally, Russets are not the first fruit that comes to mind when it comes to making any sort of smooth sauce or puree type of recipe. Aside from out-of-hand eating, usually the only thing that's universally reccommended for them is making cider. But you know what? I don't have a cider press hanging out in my garage (nor do I want to give my stepdad any more ideas - he just came home from Boxing Week sales with our *third* record turntable - and we don't use the other two!) and at the time I was working with all these babies I didn't even have a blender - that came to me Christmas morning! So it was either apple sauce or more apple muffins or cakes than our freezer and friends could ever take. Yeah... I thought sauce sounded good too.
This time, I was more invested in using up the near 2 1/2 lbs of apples we had laying around than in adding extras like sweet potatoes or other fruits (though come to think of it we have a good deal of frozen peaches sitting around right now!), so I went for purity. Even though apple butter sounds like a crazy intensive process - and it is if you make it the traditional way - I took Kevin's method of oven-roasting his way to applesauce and went a step further, returning the blended puree to the casserole dish and baking it down into a thick, caramelly velvet. A squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon finished it off before I spooned the slightly cooled spread into a clean jar and stuck it into the fridge. Of course, you can add sugar, maple syrup, honey or whatever you wish to your mixture... or even go whole hog and can the results. For me, though, the two cups this made were not worth the canning process - especially since the jar would just get opened that night!
Roasted Apple Butter
Makes about 2 cups
2 lbs 5 oz (1050g) apples (any kind), peels left on, chopped roughly
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar or sweetener**
**Add 104 calories and 27g carbs per cup of apple butter if you add sugar
Preheat oven to 350F.
Toss apples and lemon juice in a large casserole dish.
Cover and roast for 2 hours, until apples are extremely soft.
Allow to cool slightly, then add apples and any liquid to a food processor and puree completely, making sure peels are finely ground.
Stir in cinnamon and sweetener (if using), add back to the casserole dish.
Re-cover and bake another 1 1/2 hours, then remove the lid and bake a further 30-40 minutes, until dark brown and very thick.
Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 6 months.
Amount Per Cup
Total Fat: 1.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.0 mg
Total Carbs: 83.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 14.2 g
Protein: 1.0 g