For my final installment of Vegetarian Times Week, I chose Oven-Roasted Apple Butter from the October 2008 issue. The article is about making and canning spreads, presumably for gift-giving, but this apple butter is all for me!
I grew up eating apple butter, and I honestly don’t know why I’ve never made it at home, considering how easy it is. Usually the cooking is all done stove-top, but this recipe takes you from the stove to the oven, reducing the butter by “roasting” it. I don’t really think the oven method is any lower maintenance than it would have been otherwise, since you have to stir every 15 minutes anyway, but the butter did turn out fabulously so something is working right. The apple cider vinegar keeps the flavor bright, while the brown sugar and spices give it depth. The recipe calls for two to two and a half hours in the oven, and mine was actually a little over reduced after 1:40, so watch it carefully. Also, I would highly recommend using a chinoise to separate the apple pulp from the skin and seeds; I used a regular strainer and it took forever. And, you don’t necessarily have to put it in jars! I halved the recipe and am just storing it in the fridge, since I’ll eat it up pretty quickly. Make or buy some apple butter and add it to a peanut butter sandwich – you won’t regret it!