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Microwave apple butter?

Due to an atavistic instinct that kicked in as soon as I had a place with a basement, I'm stuck with many more Stayman Winesap apples than I will ever use up before they're completely past it unless I make something out of them (apple pie is a slow mover at our place). Apple butter was suggested. I'm leery of doing it on the stove for fear of scorching it. The only sizeable microwavable dish I have is a white earthenware or whatever soufflé dish, since sugar doesn't get higher in temperature than that souffés are baked at, I presume it is usable for this. The apples make very sweet sauce on their own so I don't think I'll want to add more.
Anyone done this? Tips? Recipes? Thanks as always.

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  1. I think it would cook too fast in the MW, and you'd get hot spots.

    I've done it on the stove, or best of all, dump it all in the slow cooker and let it take care of itself...I can't remember hearing you say if you have one, but it seems to make the most velvety butter.

    9 Replies
      1. re: buttertart

        My bunch likes, nay LOVES warm homemade applesauce -- very chunky, with a dollop of ice cream, whipped cream, or creme fraiche. They'll each eat one piece of apple pie and let the rest go to waste, but they'll duke it out over who gets to eat the last of the applesauce.

        I make that in the slow cooker, too...haven't burned a single batch so far.

        There's got to be one at Goodwill, or a garage sale...or keep an eye out -- I don't know if they still have the great sales they used to, but I picked up a lot of small appliances at Macy's when they were running doorbuster sales...that, plus a coupon from another ad...you can get some pretty good deals.

        1. re: sunshine842

          I've been thinking about one for a long time. How long to make the apple butter in it?

          1. re: buttertart

            8-10 hours, depending on what kind of apples, how many, etc., etc., etc...I just cook it til it looks like apple butter, which is effective, if nonscientific.

            (and it starts with applesauce, so you get both!)

        2. re: buttertart

          How about employing the carmelized onions method? Put in the oven, at a low temperature, probably in a dutch oven, and let it go.

          Now please understand, i have never done this, but it seems logical that is would work.

          1. re: smtucker

            I always mean to try the oven when making the chunky applesauce I had at a Shaker restaurant. The cook told me just to pour real maple syrup over 3/8" dice firm apples and stir over med/hi heat until tender and glazed. The juice and syrup form a glaze like that which exudes from apple pie. Outstanding! But the shape of the apples might be retained better by mixing the fruit and syrup in a bowl, then spreading on a sheet pan and baking.

            1. re: greygarious

              Oh yum. Apples with maple syrup....woooo.

            2. re: smtucker

              The oven is where I do all my fruit sauces and butters, and this year I took to reducing my tomato sauces in the oven as well. I use my giant turkey roaster and fill it full (mounded) with fruit.

              Wash, quarter and core your apples. Pile them in the roaster, pour in a few cups of water, cover with foil and bake until tender (300F). You can peel the apples if you want but I like the color the skins lend to the sauce. When tender, either mash or break up with a stick blender (carefully) and run through a food mill or sieve to remove skins. If you peeled your apples you can skip the food mill/sieve step. For a smoother sauce run through an FP. At this point taste for sugar. I find when roasting fruits for sauce no added sugar is generally needed. You can add bit of lemon juice for brightness and can at this point or just freeze the sauce. If you want to go on to apple butter, add brown sugar or maple syrup or white sugar or any combination there of, your choice of spices (I love vanilla and a pinch of cayenne along with the traditional spices) to taste, remembering that you should add just a bit more because the spices will seem tamed when served room temp or cold. Continue to cook in the oven, stirring occasionally, until thick, rich and dark at the consistency you prefer. I find it takes about 3-4 hours, sometimes less depending on the water content. Keep an eye on it but you don't have to stand over it like you do when cooking on the stove top. Can or freeze. When you freeze you may see some separation. That's normal, just give it a good stir.

              I use this method with apples, peaches, pears, tomatoes, anything where I want an end product of a thick sauce or butter. It's so much easier than hanging out with a watched pot.

              1. re: morwen

                Excellent tips, thanks, oven may be the way to go...but Emme is quite encouraging re the mike, too. Looking forward to trying this and will report. Any other ideas?

        3. i do it in the micro with lots of fruits and other "butterable" goods. for apples, i put em in a bowl with a little water, quarter first if you like. nuke for a few min depending on micro strength, til soft. let cool for a sec. then remove seeds (if you didn't when quartered), peel if you like (i don't), then puree in a processor or blender or whatever you like. i stick it in a Pyrex bowl, and mix in some dark brown sugar, and then begin the micro process. it requires attention, and takes less than ten minutes (well i guess this depends upon how big of a batch you're doing...) i nuke it til it starts bubbling up, then take out and stir. i repeat the process, continuing still it til the moisture is significantly reduced, and it doesn't flow as readily when the bowl is tipped. then i stir in vanilla and spices. stick in fridge and allow it to set up. it will thicken and firm, so stop nuking before it hits the state of firmness you want it to result as, and also be cautious the spices grow as it cools, so go lighter than you think is needed. good luck if you try it... i love doing this with pumpkin, pears, banana, plum, mango, etc.

          1. For anyone else who's looking, 2 years later: I made microwave apple butter today with tasty results using this recipe which claims to be "20 Minute Microwave Apple Butter" but is actually 2 hours end-to-end. Still faster than the slow-cooker or the oven method, I think.

            http://www.cooks.com/recipe/c04o22jc/...

            I used this equivalent for the 1/2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice: = 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. ground ginger, 1/16 tsp. nutmeg, 1/16 tsp. ground cloves

            I thought to save time by using a corer/slicer on the apples, which gave me eighths rather than quarters. Bad move since it took me longer to scrape the cooked pulp from each piece after the first 10 minutes. Hint - use a fork to hold each against the side of the bowl and a spoon to scrape. At that point the blendered cooked apples/juice became a beautiful pink, no-sugar-added, applesauce.

            After adding the sugar and spices, the second 10 - 12 minutes of cooking reduced the mixture by about 1/4 and created a medium-brown thickened "butter", perfectly spiced. I was a bit concerned at the level of clove smell during the second cooking but the taste-balance is just right.