It’s that time of year when apples of all kinds, varieties we don’t often find or see, start showing up at our roadside stands. When this happens, it’s a reminder that I need to dust off my favorite jam pot and get to making my Apple Apricot Butter With A Spark.
It had been a tradition for many years. In the last few years, I haven’t had the chance or the time to make it as I usually would. I could not let this year go by without making this Apple Apricot Butter, a requested family favorite. Besides, I’d run out of my stash of this yummy stuff and needed a new supply for the future.
- 10 medium-sized tart cooking apples, about 3+ lbs. (Granny Smith, Fuji, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Jonathan, etc.)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup cream sherry
- 1 cup dried apricots cut into medium dice
- ½ cup of frozen apple juice concentrate (thawed and undiluted)
- 8 oz. of good quality apricot jam
- 1 cup apricot brandy
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of salt
Wash, core and cut the apples into large dice. Place the apples and lemon juice in a large non-reactive saucepan and toss the apples to coat. Add the diced dried apricots, sherry, and apple juice concentrate and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Continue to simmer uncovered for about an hour or until the apples are soft.
Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until it has reached your desired texture. I like mine a bit rustic. However, it can be as smooth as you like.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer uncovered about 1 ½ to 2 hours, occasionally stirring, until the liquid is reduced and the mixture is thickened.
Using a canning funnel, pour the hot mixture into ½ pint or 1 pint sterilized jars, leaving ¼ -inch headspace from the top of the jar rim. Wipe the rims of each jar; seal and allow to cool for an hour or so. At this point, you can go the extra step and can the jars of Apple Apricot Butter for a longer shelf life. Otherwise, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Notes: If you prefer, you can use any kind or mixture of tart apples that you like. You can also peel the apples to make it less rustic. I prefer leaving the skins of the apple on for the texture and additional flavor. Some may think the alcohol may be a bit much; the truth is it burns off as it cooks leaving a pretty amazing flavor profile in its stead. Can you make it without it? You bet, see the variations below.
You may want to take one last step and can this recipe to preserve it for a longer shelf life. I do it quite often using the water bath method or my electric canner. In fact, I usually can a bunch of these and store the jars in my pantry.
Variations: There are many more. These are the simplest of the versions.
- Apple Apricot Butter without wine or sherry: Add an additional ¼ cup of apricot jam. Replace the sherry and apricot brandy with apple cider (Not apple juice).
- Just Plain Apple Butter: Replace the apricot jam with 3 more apples or 8 ounces of apple jelly. Omit the dried apricots replace with one more diced apple. Replace the sherry and apricot brandy with apple cider (Not apple juice).
Tips: Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
- What are some good apple choices for baking and cooking? Check out the chart I’ve provided as a guide.
- What is a non-reactive pan? It means you should use cookware made of a material that will not react with acidic ingredients such as stainless steel, enamel-coated cast iron or pots with a glazed surface. Saucepans to avoid are tin lined copper, tin, aluminum and unseasoned cast iron.
I love this Apple Apricot Butter with a little bit of spark. It warms my heart on a cold breakfast morning on toast, biscuits, pancakes, as a stuffing for French toast or even waffles. As I always do, these make such great hostess gifts around the holidays. When I know there will be a demand, I’ll double the recipe and can them for just that purpose.
Time to eat…
P.S. Take a moment to check out some of the tools I used for this “Apple Apricot Butter With A Spark” below. 🙂