Baked Apple Butter

Baked Apple Butter is the perfect hybrid between a jam and a chutney. The apples are stewed in cider, brandy, honey and spices then smoothed and baked slowly in a low oven for the most intensely thick and rich apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.

Baked Apple Butter is the perfect hybrid between a jam and a chutney. The apples are stewed in cider, brandy, honey and spices then smoothed and baked slowly in a low oven for the most intensely thick and rich apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.

I have mentioned before but Billy Buddy isn’t always impressed when we hijack his morning walk for a spot of foraging, but this time Cole was also not so impressed. Our method of plucking the apples from the top of the tree is to vigorously shake the branches leading to golf ball sized apples showering on our heads. It was my job to pull Billy and Cole out of the way as these mini meteors rained down from the sky. Very frustrating for a 15 month old who does not like being told no he can’t have that, no he can’t go there and yes by doing it his own way he will put his little life in danger again, for the tenth time that morning.

Baked Apple Butter is the perfect hybrid between a jam and a chutney. The apples are stewed in cider, brandy, honey and spices then smoothed and baked slowly in a low oven for the most intensely thick and rich apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.

However, for twenty minutes work at 6.30am with the ground crunchy from the first frost we were inundated with 2.5kg of the most delicious red eating apples, and thanks to the crab apple tree next door, a few of those little princes to add a little bit of tartness to the recipe I had planned.

Baked Apple Butter is the perfect hybrid between a jam and a chutney. The apples are stewed in cider, brandy, honey and spices then smoothed and baked slowly in a low oven for the most intensely thick and rich apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.

Baked Apple Butter is the perfect choice for a glut of apples. It is best working with a large amount of the fruit as thanks to the slow baking the sauce is reduced quite a bit so you want to make sure all your efforts yield a good amount.

Baked Apple Butter is the perfect hybrid between a jam and a chutney. The apples are stewed in cider, brandy, honey and spices then smoothed and baked slowly in a low oven for the most intensely thick and rich apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.

I sell my Baked Apple Butter at my market stall and it’s not a very ubiquitous preserve in the UK so I am always asked lots of questions about it. It is an ideal preserve if you are not sure whether to get a jam or a chutney as it does a little of both jobs and can be eaten with both sweet and savoury.

Baked Apple Butter is the perfect hybrid between a jam and a chutney. The apples are stewed in cider, brandy, honey and spices then smoothed and baked slowly in a low oven for the most intensely thick and rich apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.

However, my favourite uses for Baked Apple Butter are:

  • On hot buttered crumpets
  • As the filling in a Victoria Sandwich
  • Swirled into yoghurt, porridge, rice pudding
  • Served with roast pork and crackling
  • Spread generously within a cheese toastie
  • Eaten direct from the jar on your fingertip

But Baked Apple Butter is also a wonderful baking ingredient. It’s what I use in these Toffee Apple Cupcakes but you can also use it instead of the pear butter in this Spiced Pear Butter and Hazelnut Praline Cake for an apple version.

Baked Apple Butter is the perfect hybrid between a jam and a chutney. The apples are stewed in cider, brandy, honey and spices then smoothed and baked slowly in a low oven for the most intensely thick and rich apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.

And gosh if you were to beat 250g unsalted butter with 250g icing sugar for 5 minutes then add 150g Baked Apple Butter then you have the world’s most divine buttercream for your vanilla cupcakes.

It’s definitely an ingredient worth experimenting with but if you really can’t be bothered then as I said, a fingertip and the jar is really all you need.

Baked Apple Butter is the perfect hybrid between a jam and a chutney. The apples are stewed in cider, brandy, honey and spices then smoothed and baked slowly in a low oven for the most intensely thick and rich apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.

Baked Apple Butter is the perfect hybrid between a jam and a chutney. The apples are stewed in cider, brandy, honey and spices then smoothed and baked slowly in a low oven for the most intensely thick and rich apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.
Print Recipe
Baked Apple Butter
Baked Apple Butter is an intensely thick and richly spiced apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.
Baked Apple Butter is the perfect hybrid between a jam and a chutney. The apples are stewed in cider, brandy, honey and spices then smoothed and baked slowly in a low oven for the most intensely thick and rich apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.
Servings
about 8x 200g jars
Ingredients
  • 2.5 kg apples
  • 500 ml apple cider
  • 175 g dark brown soft sugar
  • 125 g honey
  • 75 ml brandy
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Servings
about 8x 200g jars
Ingredients
  • 2.5 kg apples
  • 500 ml apple cider
  • 175 g dark brown soft sugar
  • 125 g honey
  • 75 ml brandy
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Baked Apple Butter is the perfect hybrid between a jam and a chutney. The apples are stewed in cider, brandy, honey and spices then smoothed and baked slowly in a low oven for the most intensely thick and rich apple sauce that is the ultimate Autumn preserve.
Instructions
  1. Peel, core and dice the apples then place the diced apples in a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the apples have softened.
  2. Leave to cool slightly before you blend. At this point I usually leave it overnight before I blend.
  3. Place the blended apple puree into roasting dishes, so the puree is about 2 inches thick and bake in a 150°C oven for two hours until extremely thick. Stir every 30 minutes.
  4. Blend the thickened apple butter again to smooth out the final result then decant into sterilised jars.
  5. You can either keep the apple butter in the fridge for a couple of weeks or you might like to increase the life of the Baked Apple Butter by processing the jars in a water bath which means they can be kept for at least 6 months somewhere dark and cool.
Recipe Notes
  • For more information on canning and water baths see here.
  • If you have a food mill then follow this method in place of Step 1: Place the apples in a saucepan with a splash of water and simmer until the apples have softened. Remove and pass through a food mill. Place the apple puree back in the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat.

Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding

Bramley Apple Mincemeat Pudding is a must at this time of year. It’s an excellent way of using up all your excess mincemeat or makes a lighter alternative to Christmas Pudding at the end of your festive feast. Both the wheat and gluten-free recipes are listed below.

Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding

It’s crazy how much I love mincemeat. In fact it’s just as well that it only comes out once a year as not only do I get to thoroughly enjoy mince pie season but it means I am held back from overindulging all year round. I have made close to 100 jars of mincemeat this year, for selling on my preserves stalls, and it hasn’t diminished my love for the stuff at all. Making the mincemeat is one of my very favourite cooking jobs to do, it fills my kitchen with the heady scent of brandy, plump fruits and warming spices and the resulting mixture is so versatile that it would be a shame if you merely confined it to just a mini pie filling.

I love crumbled mince pies stirred through freshly churned ice cream, I devoured Nigel Slater’s Mincemeat trifle which I made a couple of years ago and I seriously heart mincemeat cheesecake which I am sure is also credited to Nigel Slater but I never wrote down the source of my recipe I have on file. Last year though I made this Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding in a bid to clear out my cupboards of Christmas just before the new year kicked in. I never blogged about it as the recipe needed some tweaking and it didn’t look as pretty as it should, plus if I remember correctly I made it about 9pm and was too tired for a photo session. This year though I stumbled across my notes for it and tore open one of my jars of Victorian Mincemeat (which I was supposed to be selling at the weekend) quicker than you could say ‘leftover bramleys in the fruitbowl.’

Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding

I tweaked some of the sugar in my original recipe and took the mincemeat through the sponge topping instead of allowing it to languish at the bottom with the bramleys and suddenly an instant classic was born.

I like the tartness of the bramleys just as they are but here I gave them a kiss of brown sugar to take the edge off. If you need your apples sweeter than do add more sugar but I think the fruity mincemeat in the sponge contrasts deliciously with the natural apple taste.

Of course there will be disagreements on how this should be served. I drowned mine in lashings of custard. And not just any custard, I couldn’t be bothered to make my own own despite having a plentiful amount of double cream and eggs in the fridge and for the first time in my whole life I whisked up some Bird’s custard powder and it turned out quite delicious. So there, those of you that think I’m a food snob. I can get down and dirty with the rest of you any day of the week.

Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding

Some festive desserts have the propensity to be a bit of a faff but this took moments to mix up and bake, perfect for cold nights in front of the fire. I urge you this year to be adventurous with your mincemeat and it would be lovely to hear some of your favourite mincemeat experiments.

Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding

Print Recipe
Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding
Fluffy vanilla sponge studded with tart bramley apples resting on a bed of fruity spiced mincemeat.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
  • 2 bramley apples peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
  • grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 150 g butter
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons mincemeat
  • 150 g plain flour *for gluten-free version see notes
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar to sprinkle
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
  • 2 bramley apples peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
  • grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 150 g butter
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons mincemeat
  • 150 g plain flour *for gluten-free version see notes
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar to sprinkle
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  2. In a large bowl mix the bramley apples with the sugar and lemon zest and juice. Pour into a buttered baking dish and set aside
  3. Cream the butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Stir in the vanilla extract and then the mincemeat.
  6. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt then mix into the rest of the ingredients until just combined.
  7. Finally stir in the milk.
  8. Pour the batter on top of the apples then bake in the oven for around 45 minutes until the sponge has browned on top and an inserted toothpicks comes out clean.
  9. Sprinkle over the teaspoon of caster sugar and serve with lashings of custard.
Recipe Notes

*I developed this recipe before I became totally gluten-free and recently I have perfected the gluten-free version. The recipe is totally the same except instead of plain flour I use the following flours all whisked together:
55g sweet rice flour
40g oat flour
30g millet flour
25g almond flour
The result is amazing and just as fluffy and deeply delicious as the original recipe.

Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney

I have been making chutneys and jams for my friends and family for Christmas presents as long as I can remember. It’s perhaps my annual ritual that I treasure the most. It signifies making the most of the autumnal farmers’ market or foraging treasures and is one of the first steps I take each year when starting to plan for the festive season.

There was a time when I rotated the chutneys I made, perhaps an apple, pear and hazelnut chutney, often a piccalilli or even a traditional dowerhouse chutney. However since I developed this particular Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney a couple of years ago there has been absolutely no looking back. It has been one of my favourite kitchen creations and now I make it every single year to pass onto my loved ones, and of course to scoff myself with a mountain of cheese.

I rather like it as it’s not one of those chunky chutneys that makes your sandwich all lumpy, or a chutney that is stuffed with little pops of sultanas making the whole affair too fruity. No, this chutney has the perfect balance of texture from the soft apples, of sweetness from the stem ginger and a warmth of spice from the root ginger, chipotle chilli powder, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Apple & Stem Ginger Chutney

In fact I love this chutney so much that it became one of the first recipes to be cemented in my new preserves venture ‘From The Larder’. I have made jars upon jars this year, so that I can spread the joy a little further than my friends and family and I will be selling it on all my market stalls leading up to Christmas. My inaugural preserves stall is at the Stroud Green Winter Fair this Saturday 22nd November at the Stapleton Tavern in Stroud Green and I can’t wait to showcase all the lovely produce I have been foraging for, jarring and canning since the summer. If you are around then do drop by and pick up a jar of this Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney. However, if you are far away then don’t fret as I’ve included the recipe below so you can make a batch of your own.

Apple & Stem Ginger Chutney

This chutney is perfect on your festive cheeseboard as it goes with pretty much any cheese. It’s also incredibly addictive so don’t be surprised if you find you are balancing more chutney on your cracker instead of cheese. This recipe makes a good few jars but it’s perfect to give away as presents or to hoard yourself so you can keep your supplies well on the go until next year’s batch.

Apple & Stem Ginger Chutney

Apple and Stem Ginger Chutney

Makes 12 x 200ml jars

For the spice bag:
50g root ginger
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1.5kg Bramley apples, peeled, cored and diced
1.5kg Cox Pippin apples, peeled, cored and diced
1kg white onions, diced
4 balls stem ginger, finely chopped
500g soft light brown sugar
600ml cider vinegar
¾ teaspoon chipotle chilli powder
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of sea salt

  1. Place the spice bag ingredients into a muslin bag and then put into a large preserving pan with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Bring slowly to the boil, then simmer for 2.5 hours.
  3. Remove the spice bag then decant the chutney into sterilised jars.
  4. Keep in a cool dark place for 2-3 months before eating.

Bramley Apple and Cranberry Oat Bars

Bramley Apple and Cranberry Oat Bars

At 7.26pm a familiar crinkle of keys in the lock rouses puppy from his slumber in the corner of the kitchen.  His tail begins to wag furiously as he hurls himself up and scurries into the hall.  My husband opens the door with grandour and bends down to scuffle puppy’s wriggling little body.  Standing back up he loosens his tie and heads with long strides towards the kitchen.  I watch him as he stands before the fridge, reaching up to a round tin which is perched on the top.  He lifts it down giving a puzzled look, then shakes the tin which utters only hollow silence.  His face crumples, “No cake?”

I know, it’s crazy but true, since the beginning of January there has been no cake in this house and not surprisingly its absence is felt as keenly as a lost limb.  Even though if at the end of December it felt like I would swear off cake, biscuits and chocolate for good, having indulged in Christmas excess.  But like the sugar junkie I am I have been yanked off the wagon and thrown to the wolves.  And I blame TV.

Just before hubby came home I was drifting across the food channels, avoiding anything with loud shouty men and I came across the cookery show of one of my favourite food bloggers.  Now, this will come to no surprise to those who know me but I secretly like to think I’m a bit of a cowgirl.  So what if I live 5000 miles away from the nearest cattle ranch, riding horses makes my bum hurt and I can’t at any time be more than 15 mins away from the nearest Vietnamese restaurant. I strut down Stroud Green Road in my cowboy boots with pride.  So when I started reading The Pioneer Woman’s blog a few years ago, I fell in love.  At the moment she has a cookery show and I love watching those vast landscapes and clear skies, imagining myself herding cattle at dawn followed by downtime in the lodge frying steaks as big as my head and whipping up peach cobblers.  Ree Drummond always seems so happy and unflustered as she effortlessly fronts her own TV show, writes her blog, homeschools her children and still manages to reign supreme in her kitchen.

Now this blogger struggles to toilet train one puppy, barely manages a mediocre run round the block, never does her homework for writing class, always forgets at least two vitally important things from the shopping list and is constantly frustrated by the lack of workspace in my tiny North London kitchen.  I might be the epitomy of fluster.

There is always one thing that calms me down though and that’s getting involved in a new recipe.  And these oat bars which Ree was making on her cookery programme just made me want to run into the kitchen and start mixing up a batch, mainly since I immediately foresaw them with a fluffy tart apple filling.  I am on a bit of bramley apple kick at the moment, my current snack being unsweetened bramley apple sauce stirred up with a tablespoon of coconut milk for mid-afternoon fixes.  It’s addictive.

Bramley Apple and Cranberry Oat Bars

I also remembered about some leftover cranberries buried in the freezer which I am keen to use up before they become seasonally irrelevant.  So I added some of those into a saucepan with the bramleys and stewed them up with just a touch of sugar.  The oaty mixture encasing the fruit is packed with sweetness so balances out the slight sourness of the soft middle.

So, now my cake tin is happy.   And so are the other members of the household.

Bramley Apple and Cranberry Oat Bars

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network

2 medium bramley apples, about 450g, peeled, cored and diced
150g cranberries
1½ tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp water
200g butter, at room temperature
185g plain flour
135g rolled oats
200g soft light brown sugar, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

  1. Put the apples and cranberries in a medium saucepan with the caster sugar and water. Put the lid on and stew on a low heat for 20-30 mins, stirring occasionally until they have broken down and softened. Leave to cool.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and grease a rectangular baking tin 9” x 13”.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add the rest of the ingredients and rub together with your hands until everything has come together to form a light dough.
  4. Press ½ the dough into the base of the baking tin to form an even layer.
  5. Spread the cooled fruit on top.
  6. Crumble the rest of the dough on the top and press down lightly into the fruit, don’t worry too much about it spreading out evenly.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins until the top is golden brown and the fruit bubbling up.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the oven for an hour or so before removing from the tin and cutting into bars.