SPICED AP­PLE BUT­TER

Countryfile Magazine - - Apples -

Ap­ple but­ter is a rich, red-brown pre­serve flavoured with spice. It’s lovely spread on toast or scones, used to sand­wich two sponges to­gether or eaten with re­ally strong cheese. This pre­serve has a two-stage cook. In the first, you pulp the ap­ples down with the skin, pips and core, as they con­tain the pectin that helps it set. The sec­ond cook is for sweet­en­ing and flavour­ing.

In­gre­di­ents (makes six or seven jars)

2kg cook­ing ap­ples (I used 1.4kg of Win­ter Pomeroys with 600g crab ap­ples) 750ml cold wa­ter 1kg gran­u­lated sugar 2 le­mons, juiced 2 heaped tsp mixed spice

Method

1. Wash the ap­ples, chop them roughly and put them in a large saucepan. Add the wa­ter and set over a medium heat. Bring it to the boil and cook, un­cov­ered, un­til the ap­ples have soft­ened and col­lapsed. Us­ing a potato masher in the pan, break the ap­ples to a pulp and re­move them from the heat.

2. Hang a sieve over a mix­ing bowl and spoon the pulp into the sieve, push­ing it through with the back of a wooden spoon. Dis­card the pips and pith left be­hind once you have ex­tracted the ap­ple.

3. Wash and dry the saucepan then re­turn the pulp to it, along with the sugar, lemon juice and mixed spice. Set over a medi­um­low heat and bring it to the boil, stir­ring un­til the sugar has dis­solved. Re­duce the heat to a min­i­mum and al­low the ap­ple to thicken and re­duce for about an hour, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. The mix­ture will be brown and coat the back of a spoon when its done.

4. While the ap­ple but­ter is cook­ing, wash six or seven jam jars and lids in hot soapy wa­ter. Rinse them well and place them on a bak­ing tray. Heat the oven to 100°C and slide the tray in for 30 min­utes, or un­til the jars are com­pletely dry. Once the ap­ple but­ter is done, spoon it into the hot, clean jars and seal them tightly with the lids. Store in a cool, dark cup­board; the pre­serve should keep for a year.

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