Photograph by Reena Newman
I remember the days when my kids were babies and I used to make them homemade applesauce. Looking back, I wish I had known about this recipe. Having a few jars of this silky sweet, no sugar–added sauce packed away would have been a lifesaver. No apple peeling or coring requires and the slow cooker does all the work.
Eat it with a spoon, spread it on toast or pair it with something savoury like a pork or turkey dish.
SUBSTITUTIONS: You can omit the apricots entirely and just use all apples or sub in pear or quince.
APPLE TIPS: Apples have two main distinguishing features when used in cooking: soft, which are the ones that turn mushy when cooked and are best used for things like applesauce (ex. McIntosh), or hard, which are the ones that hold their shape when cooked, like Golden Delicious. The latter are best used in pies and tarts.
Apple Apricot Butter
- slow cooker
- blender or food processor
- 2 lb apples quartered
- 2 lb apricots, halved and pitted
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 vanilla bean cut in half and sliced lengthwise optional
- Pinch salt
- fresh lemon juice optional, to taste
- Place apples, apricots, water, cinnamon, vanilla bean and salt in your slow cooker. This should fill a standard sized slow cooker. Set slow cooker to high for 5 hours. Mash fruit halfway through cooking time.
- After 5 hours of slow cooking, open lid and cook an additional 45–60 minutes, until colour darkens and most of the liquid evaporates. Check and stir occasionally, consistency should be thick and saucy.
- Let cool slightly, remove vanilla bean (save, wash and reuse) and cinnamon stick and transfer to a food processor or blender. Process until you have a buttery, silky-smooth purée, emulsifying all the skins. Taste and adjust seasoning with lemon juice, if you like.
- Transfer to clean jars, seal, label, date and refrigerate. This will keep for several weeks in the fridge. For canning, process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.