Labor Day weekend for many years meant work for Nick and getting my brain ready for returning to grad school. This year we found ourselves with a wide open weekend and no responsibilities, so we excessively packed and headed over to eastern Oregon to spend some time with Nick’s grandparents.
75, sunny, dry heat. Count me in sister.
We filled the weekend with hiking, pancakes, unearthing Nick’s go cart (middle school super star 18 years strong!) , mountain climbing and apple picking. Bliss.
An old apple tree sits up on the property and we picked approximately 1000 apples (give or take a few). Nick had the idea to make some apple butter (which I had never had before this!) By the third batch, we hit the sweet spot on baking time and spice ratio. Plus my house aroma mirrored that of an amazing 100 Vermont cider press house (or so I imagine). Fall, basically.
Baked apple butter
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
Quarter six pounds apples and combine in a large saucepan with 8 cups water.
Cover and simmer until apples are soft, about 1 1/2-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 200•F (mine worked best closer to 225•F).
Using a large wooden spoon, mash the apples until they resemble apple sauce. Add zest and juice of 1/2 lemon,
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c white sugar
1T pumpkin pie spice
Slowly bring to boil, stirring frequently.
Pour mixture into a deep baking dish and bake, uncovered until thick enough to mound on spoon.
The original recipe said to bake for 10 hours. I kept mine in the oven for closer to 30 or so and thought this was perfect.
Let cool. You could put in freezer bags and freeze or put in jars and refrigerate. Enjoy!
We have had some other great meals this week, including;
Alexandra’s Kitchen Chicken and Rice
Smitten Kitchen Raspberry Buttermilk Cake (I used peaches! Delicious!)
Bon Appétit Faux Lobster Pho