Fall has visited us here in Brooklyn, bringing a chill to the air and apples to our markets. Mountains of apples. Our first few attempts at making apple jam were not wildly successful and so we turned instead to an old favorite, apple butter. We Anarchists, however, are not too thrilled with the word “butter” and so we decided to ask the good people of the internet for help coming up with a new name. The winning “entry” (thank you facebook status updates) is “sass.”
As in pass me some of that fabulous apple sass. So, add a little sass to your next piece of toast. Or go crazy and slather it over a roasting chicken. We used the following recipe, adapted from one of our favorite blogs, 101 Cookbooks, and West Coast Jammer, Carolina B.
Apple Sass Recipe
Makes roughly 5 small (4oz jars) or several 8 ouncers.
4 lbs of apples, peeled and cut into chunks (we used a mix of local, heirloom varietals but your favorite cooking apple will do the trick! Try Northern Spy, Ida Red or Jonathan, all available at your local farmer's market) 1 bottle of apple cider (we used sparkling, but whatever you fancy) 2 cups of sugar (approx 1/2 cup per pound of fruit) 1 1/2t cinnamon 1/2t cloves Juice of one lemon
Add the apples and enough cider to just cover the fruit, bring to a simmer. Skim as needed . Cook apples until tender (20-30 minutes) and remove from heat. Allow fruit to cool down a bit and puree in a food mill (we have a lovely old food mill that works wonders with apples but a blender or food processor will also do the trick!). The puree should be similar to a thin applesauce.
Once you have pureed the entire batch, return to your pot and set over medium heat. Bring puree to a simmer and slowly add the remaining ingredients (cinnamon, cloves, sugar and lemon juice). Keep simmering, the apple butter needs to reduce and thicken up—this process can take up to two hours. Check the temperature with a candy thermometer, you want to keep it around 220F. And keep stirring, you don’t want your sass to scorch!
Once your Apple Sass has thickened up and darkened in color remove from heat and allow it to settle for a few minutes.
Finish by filling your desired jars to within a ¼ inch of the top and seal (for jar preparation, see this detailed recipe). Boil for 10 minutes in a water bath. Let rest 5 minutes in bath then remove. Wait for the jars to “pop” letting you know your sass is sealed!
A few caveats:
As the apple butter cooks it makes a delightful bubbling and plopping sound but it also splatters—be careful when stirring as these little burst can burn!
Also, apple butter makes your house smell delicious for days!! Like apple pie but better!
Stay tuned for our adventures with pear sass!