“They are employed today, making a delection they call Apple Butter.”
Food in England, Dorothy Hartley
“Apple Butter, or Apple Sauce-This is often made in the houses of settlers where there is an abundance of apples, on a large scale; several bushes of pared apples being boiled down, either in cider or with water, for several hours, till the whole mass is thoroughly incorporated. Great care is needful to keep it stirred, so as to prevent burning. There are several ways of making this apple-butter; some make it with cider, others without, some use sugar, others do not; and some boil sliced pumpkin with the apples, if the latter are very acid. It is a standing dish in most American houses and is very convenient.”
The Canadian Emigrant Housekeeper’s Guide, Mrs C.P. Traill
I did not grow up with apple butter on the table. My grandparent’s families were not of old pioneer stock but rather immigrants to Canada in the early twentieth century and as such, they settled in an urban area where they didn’t have access to large quantities of apples from which to make apple butter. But it has been made by colonists in North America for hundreds of years. And now, because of a new interest in canning and preserving, there are many small batch recipes available.
I’ve been on a preserving binge this fall, so I decided to make my own fruit butter, how hard could it be? Actually, not very hard at all, BUT, it does require time. I wanted to make the Salted Caramel Pear Butter in The Canning Kitchen by Amy Bronee, sounds delicious right? I’ve eaten lots of fruit butters, mainly apple, and they’re meant to be thick and to be spread, but after the required time (just 100 minutes) the pear butter wasn’t a butter at all, but a sauce. I then pulled down an old favorite, Elizabeth Baird’s Apples, Peaches & Pears, there is a recipe for Honey pear Butter with Rum. At this point I had a pan full of pear sauce, I combined elements of both recipes, increased the cooking time, (total cooking time 4 hours) and produced a thick, sweet and intense pear-flavoured fruit butter. Perfect for scones,pancakes, waffles and yogurt.
Caramel Pear Butter
8 lb. ripe pears
4 cups of dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. dark rum
Wash the pears, remove the stems and cores. Chop coarsely but evenly. Place in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, crush with a potato masher and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium, and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Puree the fruit using an immersion blender or a food mill, Stir in lemon juice, brown sugar and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring often until thick and reduced, this will take at least two to three hours and the butter will reduce quite a bit, this also help to intensify the fruit flavour. Once thick, add the rum, and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Ladle into clean, hot jars. Seal and process for 15 minutes at a full boil.
Cream Scones-Kate Aitkens, Canadian Cook Book
Temperature 450 F. Time:12-15 minutes
2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening (I used butter, always butter)
1/2 cup cereal cream (I used 35%)
2 tablespoons sugar
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the shortening with a dough blender. Beat the eggs until light; add the cream and sugar. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture; add the egg mixture all at once. Stir lightly, mixing as little as possible; turn on a floured board. Knead lightly until the dough is smooth. Roll to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut crosswise in diamonds; brush lightly with the following glaze:
2 tablespoons cold milk
1 tablespoon sugar
Bake in a hot oven; split, butter and serve with raspberry jam (or pear butter)
Makes approx. 18 scones