spiced apple butter

the remainder of the apples we were given went into this spiced apple butter. two batches of it, the second made because too many people wanted a jar of the stuff.

despite its name there is no butter in it – apples are stewed until they break down, mixed with sugar and spices – cinnamon, cloves and allspice – and then slow-cooked until the mix thickens, darkens and takes on a caramelised flavour.

the result is a delicious spicy appley sauce that you can smear on toast, between cakes (a victoria sponge with an extra layer of cream is top of my mind), on crumpets, teacakes or welsh cakes (pictured), or spooned into a bowl of porridge.

this takes time to make but if you have a large amount of apples that need to be used it’s a great way to use them up as they shrink so much – one batch i made had 13 apples in it and only made two medium jars. it’d be a lovely homemade christmas gift, if you’re in need of inspiration.

spiced apple butter* (makes 3-4 500g jars)

2kg apples, peeled, cored and, cut into 1-inch chunks

750ml water

200-250g sugar

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground allspice

put the apples into a large pan, add the water and bring to a boil over high heat. boil, stirring occasionally, until the apples are completely broken down, 30 to 40 minutes. if you want your apple butter to be completely smooth, blitz the mix in a blender (or pass it through a sieve). i don’t bother with this stage as i don’t mind a bit of texture.

weigh the puree and place it in a large ovenproof dish. add 2 tablespoons of sugar per 250g of purée. add the spices. mix well and bake in a 150°c oven, stirring every half hour, for several hours, until thick and dark. i cooked mine for 3 ½ hours.

transfer the hot apple butter into sterilised jars and seal. store in the fridge once open.

*based on a recipe from canning for a new generation by liana krissoff