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Maple Apple-Pear Butter

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Yields 5-1/2 cups

  • by Abigail Johnson Dodge from Fine Cooking
    Issue 101

Cook the apples and pears with their peels, cores, and seeds to get every ounce of flavor from the fruit. Regardless of what pear variety you use, they must be ripe, or your butter may be unpleasantly grainy.

  • 3-1/2 lb. ripe pears
  • 2-1/2 lb. apples
  • 3 cups apple or pear cider
  • 1-1/3 cups pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Cut the pears into 1-inch chunks. Cut the apples in half or into quarters if large. Put the fruit and the cider in a very large pot (at least 7-quart capacity). Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the fruit is very soft when pierced with a knife, 40 to 60 minutes. Take the pot off the heat.

Set a food mill fitted with a fine sieve disk over a large bowl. Purée the fruit in small batches, discarding seeds and skins.

Wipe out any remaining seeds or peels from the pot and pour in the purée. Add the maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Stir until well blended.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low or medium low to maintain a simmer. Using a large spoon, skim off most of the foam that rises to the surface during the initial simmering.

Continue simmering, stirring often with an angled spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom, corners, and sides of the pot, until the purée becomes thick and dark and the bubbling becomes slow and laborious (more like volcanic burps than bubbles), 1-3/4 hours to 2-3/4 hours. Be sure to stir toward the end of cooking to avoid scorching. To test for doneness, spoon a dollop of the butter onto a small plate and refrigerate for a minute or two. It should hold its shape with no water separating out around its edge.

Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon juice and vanilla, stirring until well blended. Transfer the butter to a container, let cool to room temperature, and then store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Note: For longer storage at room temperature, can the fruit butter. Transfer the hot butter to clean, hot canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace in each jar, and follow the directions in our canning video, processing the butter for 10 minutes.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 1 Tbs.; Calories (kcal): 35; Fat (g): 0; Fat Calories (kcal): 0; Saturated Fat (g): 0; Protein (g): 0; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0; Carbohydrates (g): 9; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): 10; Cholesterol (mg): 0; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was very good and easy to make. I still like my apple butter recipe which calls for just sugar, spices and apple cider best.

This turned out amazing. I completely left out the brown sugar, and only used grade B maple syrup (reduced by 1/3 cup), and it was incredible and VERY sweet. I can't imagine it with the full amount of sweetener. I cooked down the fruit on the stove top, used a mill, then did the rest in the crock pot (no lid) on low for about 6 hours. I stirred it only twice. We used it the next morning on toast and then mixed into our oatmeal. So delicious!

This is the best butter I've ever made. I've been making apple butter in the fall for years, but this will be my new go to recipe. The flavors are intense and so delicious. Not too sweet. I used Grade B maple syrup. My family LOVES this. Thank You.

A very good spread! Made 1/2 a recipe and used grade B maple syrup for a more pronounced maple flavor. If not using organic apples and pears I would peel the fruit.

Delicious recipe. I didn't have vanilla extract so I scraped the seeds from a pod and put those in, then let the pod simmer with the mix. I reduced the recipe to use just 4 lbs. of fruit, and I still got six half-pint jars full.

Absolutely sinful! We used honeycrisp apples with bartlett and bosc pears. We got ambitious and used our water bath canner, our yield was 5 6-ounce jelly jars, plus a little left over for morning bagels! I had peeled and cored the fruit before cooking, then used the immersion blender before adding the brown sugar and maple syrup.

Wonderful! My husband just wanted to eat it out of the bowl for dessert.

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