With the rain still falling today we were fortunate to have a momentary burst of colour and light this afternoon at Hillpike – I think the pot of gold must be very close indeed.
As my boy and I are confined to the farm for another afternoon we have decided to make a fruit butter. I have never made one before but have always been intrigued by the sound of them – Banana Butter sounds particularly appealing to me – but as I have a windfall of scrumped apples winking at me from their basket, I have decided to make Spiced Apple Butter instead. A fruit butter is so named for its creamy, smooth consistency. It doesn’t contain butter, nor does it replace the butter. It is purely a very smooth and sweet jam, spread thinly onto toast, scones or even stirred into yoghurt.
Here I am using a recipe from a tiny little book I have called Pickles and Preserves, by, funnily enough, Bridget Jones. So here goes –
1.25kg/2.5 lbs of cooking apples
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 whole lemon, chopped
600ml/1 pint of water
575g/1.25lbs of caster sugar
Rinse and roughly chop the apples (do not worry about peeling them as the end result is sieved). Place the apples into a large pan alongside the spices, chopped lemon and water. Bring to the boil, cover the pan and reduce the heat. Simmer for roughly an hour until the fruit has reduced to a pulp.
Press this mixture through a fine sieve to create a puree.
Pour this puree back into a clean saucepan and stir in the sugar (add a little less if you don’t like things too sweet) continue to stir over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Now bring to the boil and boil steadily for 30 minutes until it has reduced by half and is quite thick and creamy. During this time stir frequently to prevent the bottom of the pan catching and burning.
As with all jams and chutneys, pour into warmed/sterilised pots, cover with waxed paper (waxed side facing down). Leave to cool and then put on the lids (it’s important to leave the fruit butter to cool as if you put the lids on when the butter is hot you won’t ever be able to open it again – which would be very sad.)
I am looking forward to this on toast tomorrow.