What I though was interesting about this recipe from Farm Fork Food by Eric Skokan was the lack of sugar. While many recipes for applesauce are loaded with sugar, this apple butter suggests adding it as seasoning at the end of cooking.
Which makes perfect sense. Some apples are sweeter than others, so you might want more or less sugar to compensate. And some people like more or less sweetness.
Personally, I like tart flavors, so I only used about a teaspoon of sugar for the apple butter, and I was really glad it was optional.
The apple butter is actually half of a recipe - the other half is farmer's cheese, which is intended to be eaten with the apple butter along with some grilled sourdough bread. But I decided to just make the apple butter - I had plenty of cheese to pair it with.
Adapted from Farm Fork Food by Eric Skokan
1 pound apples
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
In a large Dutch oven over high heat, bring the apples, water and salt to a boil.
NOTE: The book didn't specify whether the apples should be peeled or not, but I didn't want peels and seeds in my apple butter, so I peeled and cored and cut the apples into chunks before cooking them. I suppose you could cook them whole, but it seems that it would take a lot of pureeing to get the mixture smooth.
Reduce the heat to medium ad coop until the apples are very soft and the water has evaporated, about 45 minutes.
Puree the apples in a blender until smooth (I used my stick blender right in the pot.)
Return the puree to the pot (I didn't need to do that, which is another good reason for using a stick blender).
Cook at 300 degrees, stirring every 30 minutes, until the mixture is very thick - about 3 hours total.
Season the apple butter with sugar (I only used about a teaspoon),
Remove the cinnamon stick and transfer to a storage container (a small canning jar was perfect - it reduces a lot).
I received this book from the publisher at no cost to me.