A few years ago (eek...more like 12 now that I think about it), I came across apple butter. I don't remember where but I do remember liking it. I dug around for a recipe and found one but it came out tasting kind of one-dimensional. It was my first attempt at canning anything and I realized how relatively easy (though rather time-consuming) it was. I started trying to come up with ways to 'dress up' the apple butter around Thanksgiving and canned pumpkin was on sale so I decided to mix some in and see how it turned out. I liked it. MacGyver liked it. But the litmus test would be his family.
Each year for Christmas, MacGyver's family makes pumpkin spice pancakes for Christmas breakfast. I figured their pumpkin spice pancakes would go nicely with my apple-pumpkin butter so I brought some along when we went home for Christmas. The A-P butter was HIT - so much so that it garnered me the top-secret recipe for the pumpkin spice pancakes (well, that and actually marrying into the family). Now, when Thanksgiving rolls around, I get the same question each year..."You ARE going to make your apple-pumpkin butter, AREN'T YOU?!?"
So here is the recipe. Enjoy!
3 pounds McIntosh apples
2.5 cups apple cider
1.5 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
15 ounce can solid pack pumpkin
1tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp each ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon
1. Peel and core apples. Reserve. Combine peels and cores + 2C cider in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 mintues. Press through strainer to extract juices. Reserve juice. Discard peels and cores.
2. Meanwhile, combine peeled apples, sugar, and spices with remaining 1/2 cup cider in large saucepan. Boil over medium heat. Reduce to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally 30-40 minutes or until apples start to fall apart.
3. Add reserved juice to apples and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally 45-60 minutes or until thick. Discard cinnamon sticks. Stir in pumpkin.
4. Heat oven to 300*F. Pour mixture into a 9x13" baking pan/dish. Stirring every 15 minutes, bake 1-1.5 hours or until thick. Blend in blender to remove lumps.
5. Spoon into sterilized 1/2 pint canning jars. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims and threads clean. Top with hot lids and screw bands on firmly. Process in boiling water 5 minutes. Remove and cool completely.
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