White Elm Café & Bakery executive pastry chef Jamie Orlacchio grew up slathering apple butter on warm toasts. Set it out in a bowl with cheeses and bread for the holidays or put it into mason jars to give as gifts.
1¼ pounds tart cooking apples, such as Granny Smith (about 4 medium)
1 pound ripe pears (about 2 medium)
1½ cups apple cider or apple juice
1 cups granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, strained
¼ teaspoon ground cardamon
Half of a cinnamon stick
Core, peel, and cut apples and pears into quarters. Place apples and pears into a 4- to 6-quart heavy pot or Dutch oven with apple cider. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Press apple-and-pear mixture through a food mill or sieve. (You should have 3½ to 4 cups.) Return pulp to pot, and stir in sugar, lemon juice, cloves, cardamon, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
Cook, uncovered, over very low heat for about 1 to 1½ hours or until thick enough that mixture mounds onto a spoon. Stir often to prevent scorching. Place the pot in a sink filled with ice water; stir apple butter to cool. Ladle into half-pint freezer containers, leaving a 1/2 -inch headspace. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 6 months. Freezing may darken apple butter. Makes 2 to 3 half-pints.