Aunt B’s Apple Butter

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Apple Butter

When I was growing up, my Great Aunt Barbara in South Georgia would occasionally send my family jars of homemade jam, jelly, and apple butter. These little jars of sweets were always a warm reminder of far away family, as well as the tastes, smells, and kindnesses of Aunt B’s home.

As an adult, I eventually had her write down a few recipes for me, including the apple butter. I make it yearly now, and we enjoy it liberally on Apple Cottage Cheese Hotcakes, or toast and such. At some point years ago, I realized I preferred not to use tons of sugar in my preserves, so I reduce the sugar here from her original 6 cups to 2 1/2 cups.

(Yield: 5 pints)

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Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds of apples (weight before cleaning)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 box low sugar pectin; OR, 6 teaspoons Pomona Pectin and 6 tsp. calcium water

 

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Steps:

  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples and place them in a large pot or dutch oven. Pour in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 20 – 25 mins. or until tender. Stir occasionally. (I’ve also used a pressure cooker for this step which brings the cooking time down to about 10 mins.)
  2. While apples are cooking, prep your canning jars, lids, and rings according to manufacturer’s instructions. Heat a large pot of water to a boil.
  3. Mash the fruit with a potato masher until it looks like thick apple sauce. (If you prefer a smoother texture, you could put the apple mush through a food processor or blender.)
  4. Stir in sugars and spices and pectin and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Pour mixture into hot sterilized jars, leaving a quarter inch of head space. Place lids and rings on jars and lower into the pot of boiling water. Make sure the water covers the lids and boil jars for about 5 mins. Remove from the water and let cool on a rack.

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Apple Cottage Cheese Hotcakes

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Apple Cottage Cheese Hotcakes with pear butter

When we lived in California, we’d occasionally drive to the Lark Creek Inn in Marin for a decadent breakfast, back when they still used many of Chef Bradley Ogden’s recipes, but after he’d moved on to Vegas. At some point, my husband bought Ogden’s Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner cookbook (from 1991!), and we started enjoying a few of his delicious breakfast recipes at home. Apple Cottage Cheese Hotcakes have stood the test of time at our house, and we usually serve them with homemade apple butter. Today I realized I’m all out of apple butter (good thing we just picked 10 pounds of apples yesterday), so we enjoyed them with yummy¬†pear butter instead.

(Yield: 1 dozen pancakes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup large curd cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 3/4 – 1 cup peeled and grated tart apple
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Apple cottage cheese hotcakes on the griddle

 

Steps:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolk, milk, cottage cheese, butter, and lemon zest.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture, stirring until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
  4. In a small, dry, clean bowl beat the egg white with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg white and the grated apple into the batter until just a few traces of the egg white are still visible. Be careful not to over mix.
  5. Grease a griddle or large nonstick pan on moderate heat. Use a 1/4 cup of batter for each hotcake and pour onto the hot griddle. Cook the hotcakes on the first side until they are puffed and full of bubbles, looking dry at the edges, then turn and cook for one or two more minutes.
  6. Serve with apple or pear butter, or maple syrup.

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