Monday, 19 October 2015

Spiced Apple Butter (Low Sugar)

Crock Pot Spiced Apple Butter, dump everything into your slow cooker and you're on you way to a delicious low sugar spread. GoodFoodShared.Blogspot.com

Apple what now?... Yes a couple of years ago I wondered the same thing, did it actually have butter in it? How was it made and what would I eat it with?

So what exactly is it? Well a fruit butter is usually a stoned fruit, cooked at a low temperature for a prolonged period of time until the natural sweetness of the fruit come to the fore and it becomes a smooth buttery fruit puree.

As a result of this slow cooking process, fruit butters need less added sugar, which makes for a guilt free spread on your morning wholemeal toast, stirred into greek yoghurt or slathered onto pancakes. 


Crock Pot Spiced Apple Butter, dump everything into your slow cooker and you're on you way to a delicious low sugar spread. GoodFoodShared.Blogspot.com

Last year around this time, my father had an abundance of damson plums, after using them in as many recipes as I could muster, I needed some inspiration. 

I scouted around on Twitter for some ideas and lo and behold Plum Butter was my gateway into this wonderful new way of cooking. I think that it would be no exaggeration to say that I love fruit butters, especially at this time of year when plums, apples and pumpkins all come in at roughly the same time and you really need to get cracking before they become unusable. 

Crock Pot Spiced Apple Butter, dump everything into your slow cooker and you're on you way to a delicious low sugar spread. GoodFoodShared.Blogspot.com


This might seem like a long and involved recipe but in actual fact it isn't, you basically prepare the fruit, dump the lot into your slow cooker and after a long number of hours later you have this sumptuous, versatile low sugar jam like creation, so if your slow cooker is idle this weekend then I think you'll enjoy making a few jars of spiced apple butter. 


Makes 900g -1kg

Ingredients
1kg Cooking apples, roughly 10 medium apples
3 Cinnamon sticks
1 tsp Ground nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
1 tsp Mixed spice
250ml water
100g White sugar

Method
Peel and core your apples. Chop the apples and place them into the ceramic basin of your slow cooker. I sliced my apples into 1cm (½ inch) wedges, which was entirely unnecessary but very cathartic :)


Add the cinnamon sticks, ground nutmeg - fresh nutmeg is so much better than ready ground, consider it the next time you need to stock up, it lasts for ages without losing its flavour - the mixed spice and the water. I add the sugar to taste at the end of the cooking time. Place the lid onto the cooker and cook on LOW for 12 - 24 hours.


This is what my butter looked like about 8 hours in, I gave it a quick stir and left it for another 6 hours. I don't usually leave my slow cooker on overnight but I do turn it on again first thing in the morning.


There is no definitive cooking time for fruit butter, the rule is the longer the better. About 2 hours before the end leave the lid open a crack to let any excess moisture evaporate.


Cooked apple butter should be lump free and without excess moisture. If is not that consistency, give it another couple of hours. When you are happy with the consistency, remove the cinnamon sticks, add the sugar to taste 50g at a time until it is to your liking.


This is entirely optional, use a hand blender for a smoother butter. Last year I made Damson Plum Butter and left it unblended, it's all a matter of taste.


Spoon the butter into clean sterilised jars - leave about 2cm (1 inch) headspace for freezing - seal with a tight fitting lid and store in the fridge for up to two/three weeks or freeze.

To sterilise jars, either put them through a long hot cycle in your dishwasher, boil them for 10 minutes in a saucepan of water or place spotlessly clean jars and lids in an oven preheated to 150C/ 300F/Gas 2 for 10 minutes.


Crock Pot Spiced Apple Butter, dump everything into your slow cooker and you're on you way to a delicious low sugar spread. GoodFoodShared.Blogspot.com

Crock Pot Spiced Apple Butter, dump everything into your slow cooker and you're on you way to a delicious low sugar spread. GoodFoodShared.Blogspot.com

Crock Pot Spiced Apple Butter, dump everything into your slow cooker and you're on you way to a delicious low sugar spread. GoodFoodShared.Blogspot.com

Crock Pot Spiced Apple Butter, dump everything into your slow cooker and you're on you way to a delicious low sugar spread. GoodFoodShared.Blogspot.com

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