So what screams Autumn more than apples? Nothing. Nothing whatsoever.
Every year, the bear and I drive to Ellijay, GA and hit up a few of the apple orchards there. Usually we just come home with some cider to ferment, but this year, I had an idea. I wanted to make apple butter. And holy shit did we buy some apples.
After doing some Internet research, I found that Winesap apples are supposed to be really fabulous for making apple butter. Unfortunately, a friend said that the Winesaps were bitter this year, and after tasting them, we agreed. However, we weren’t discouraged for long. We decided to get 4 varieties of apples and see which one made the best butter. Here are the contenders:
Red Delicious (which we paired with Kraken rum)
Gala (which we paired with a rich, deep chocolate stout- and I also neglected to take a picture of)
Granny Smith (which we added cinnamon schnapps to)
Mutsu (which was added to Grand Marnier)
My basic recipe was this:
1/2 peck apple of choice
2 cups turbinado sugar
1 cup booze of choice (except for the stout, which I used 1 1/2 cups)
3 tsp cinnamon
It took us about 3 weeks to finish all the apple butters, with a side foray into pumpkin butter as well. (I’ll try to get the recipe from Bear, as that was his baby)
They were ALL delicious. What I found was that the type of alcohol used made very little difference, but I still feel like it needed some sort of boozy twist. Maybe that’s just because I’m Irish. The stout added the tiniest bit of earthiness, but it was very, very subtle. And the cinnamon schnapps, which I thought would definitely show up, just blended in like the others. As far as the apples go, it depends on what you’re looking for. My favorites were the Red Delicious, which became super sweet, and the Granny Smith, which retained some of their acidity and was a bit more appley tasting.
If I had to choose one to do again next year, I would have a hard time choosing. I would either do Red Delicious with the stout if I was looking for something sweet and syrupy, or the Granny Smith with any liquer for something more fruity tasting. One thing to note is that the Granny Smith melted down into goo easily, while the Red Delicious kept their shape and had to be pureed longer in the food processor. I thought it would have been the other way around.
Bear’s Pumpkin Butter
“I like roasted it, and added some stuff.”