So my new hobby of late is preserving. As you know, I made pickles for the first time this year. Well I also made my own version of apple butter and have been dying to think of a way to some how tie it in with the Big Green Egg so I could blog about it. Today was just such an occaision.
One of my favorite quick and easy appetizers that always wows people, despite how easy it is, is baked brie with some kind of fruit spread, and some kind of nut. I’ve done it with orange marmelade and diced jalapeno before (which rocks!) and today I thought I would try it with my homemade apple butter (which also rocks).
It’s pretty simple. You take a wheel of brie, slice it into two discs, place one disk (rind side facing down) in a baking dish just slightly larger than the brie, cover it generously with apple butter, sprinkle some sliced almonds on top, then put the second disc on top (also with the rind side facing down) and again cover with apple butter and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
[Side note: The easiest way I know to slice a wheel of brie into two discs is to use a string. Score a line around the edge of the wheel, then wrap a string around the wheel following the line. Where the two ends of the string meet, pull them tightly across each other to tighten the string around the wheel. Pull tighter and the string will slice through the scored line into the wheel and separate it into two discs. This is much easier than trying to slice the wheel with a knife which is likely to stick to the brie and make a mess.]
I made mine in a stainless steel brie baker with a lid that Brian brought back for me from Niagara. It went on the Big Green Egg at about 350F (indirect heat) until melted and bubbling hot (sorry, I didn’t accurately time it, but I imagine it was somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes). Then I served it with crackers (triscuits and sweet potato wheat thins in this case) and voila… a yummy, cheesy, gooey, fruity appetizer.
“But where do I get homemade apple butter, Jackie?” you are probably wondering. You make it yourself of course! It’s so easy a child could do it. Here is my recipe for homemade apple butter…
Maple Apple Butter
- 6 lbs granny smith apples, peeled and cored
- 1 cup real maple syrup
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Toss apples in a 6 qt. slow cooker and coat with maple syrup and cinnamon. You don’t need to chop them if you are lazy like me. Turn the slow cooker on low heat for a minimum of 12 hours. Depending on how dark and thick you want your apple butter to be, you can leave it cooking longer. I accidentally left my last batch going for 17 to 18 hours (I forgot about it!) and when I remembered it had turned so dark around the edge of the crock that I thought I had burned it. But when I tasted it, it was not burned at all, just very caramelized and delicious. Happiest accident I’ve ever had.
I like my apple butter ultra smooth. If you like it lumpier, just use a potato masher, if you are like me, puree it until smooth in a blender. Then fill mason jars, can and seal using water bath method (I won’t explain canning here, there are a million resources on the internet if you want to learn how).
Six pounds of apples shrunk down quite a lot; I got about six 250mL jars of apple butter in total. I just keep them in my pantry until opened, and then store in the fridge (where it doesn’t last more than a few days anyway). This is truly good stuff.