I don't know about you, but a few years ago I decided I was not making apple butter ever again if I couldn't find a way to do it that didn't involve burns on my hands and totally cleaning the stove top after I finished. I don't care how long the spoon handle is or how deep the pot, I will get popped on and burned.
Why didn't I think of this before! The Joy of Cooking has the answer to everything. This is the easiest, and perhaps finest, apple butter of all time.
Mix at least two different varieties of apples, get the orchard people to make suggestions for the time of year you're making the butter. If you live in my area there is only one place to buy fruit and that's Reed Valley Orchard in Paris, Ky. I also buy my apple juice at the same orchard, because it's all natural.
You will be sending me flowers for this recipe.
Baked Apple Butter
about eight 1/2-pint jars
Wash, stem, and quarter:
6 pounds unpeeled cooking apples
Combine in a large heavy saucepan with:
8 cups apple juice
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Pass the apples through a food mill or medium-mesh sieve. Return to the pan, and add:
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cups sugar (half may be packed brown sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Slowly bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Stir in, if desires:
(1/2 cup port or dry red wine), sometimes I do, sometimes I don't
Pour three-quarters of the puree into a deep baking dish, (I pour it all in), reserving the rest. Bake, uncovered, until thick enough to mound on a spoon, about 10 hours, This is where I go to bed. As the mixture shrinks, stir in the reserved puree, and continue baking until entire mixture is very hot.
Pack the hot fruit butter into hot 1/2-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process for 15 minutes in hot water bath.
No, this does not splatter all over your oven.