This lightly spiced fruit reduction is a lovely addition to a picnic menu. The spices are delicious with cheese, so perfect for a cheese board or even a grilled cheese sandwich. In fact, this butter is tasty on most sandwiches. Toss a few tablespoons in with mashed kumara, spoon over yoghurt and muesli for breakfast… the possibilities are endless. This recipe can also be made with just apples or pears; the cooking time is the same regardless of the combination of fruit. Be warned that it does make a bit of a mess on the stove when cooking. I strongly recommend investing in a splatter guard!
1½ kilograms apples such as braeburn or gala
1½ kilograms pears such as beurre bosc
½ cup white wine
½ cup water
2 tablespoons brandy or calvados
1½ teaspoons each ground cinnamon and ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon each ground mace and cloves
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Peel and core the apples and pears. Cut into small chunks and place in a large saucepan with all the remaining ingredients. Cook uncovered over a medium heat for 1 hour or until the fruit is very soft and can easily be crushed against the side of the saucepan.
Working in batches, place the fruit in a food processor or blender and process until very smooth. You can also use a stick blender straight into the saucepan but take great care as the hot fruit can easily splatter and burn your skin.
Tip back into the saucepan and cook over a low heat for 2½ hours, stirring regularly to ensure it doesn’t catch on the base of the pan, especially towards the end of cooking. The mixture should be a deep caramel colour and very thick. A simmer mat is ideal for long, gentle cooking.
Spoon the hot mixture into sterilized jars, cover and cool. The fruit butter will keep refrigerated for up to 3 months. Makes about 3 cups of butter
We have served the butter with a selection of cheeses, sourdough bread and crackers.