September Daring Cook’s challenge – preserving and apple butter

The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

I was tempted to skip this challenge. The Daring kitchen allows you 4 “get out of jail free” cards a year, so if you are on holiday or do not have the equipment you don’t have to do the challenge. As I’ve been making quite a bit of lemon curd this winter, I didn’t feel it was necessary to do it all again. And the recipes John provided (no offense John) didn’t really excite me. But, as I used to do in Monopoly as I kid, I decided to save up my “get out of jail free” cards for a time that I might really need to use them.

So, onto the challenge. We were given the option of either making apple butter or roasted tomatoes, and then either freezing them or home canning them. I chose to make apple butter as the Granny Smith apples are abundant at the moment, and I chose to freeze it. The apple butter recipe was easy to follow, and quick to complete. I put it in sterilized jars and froze it for a week while trying to decide what to use it  for! Having given it a lot of thought I decided to use some of the butter in a marinade for pork ribs, and the rest of it to make apple meringue pie. My french Aunt D makes a fantastic apple meringue pie and I thought it would be a great time to replicate it.

The challenge was good to do, as I got to make sticky ribs and apple meringue pie (which Frank loved). And we got to have our first BBQ of the summer of 2010!

Apple butter (to make one jar) – from John, the host and

6 apples, peeled and cored, and chopped into cubes
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp cinnamon and mixed spice each

Combine apples and water in a pan and cook until apples are falling apart. Mash, and then add in sugar and spices. Simmer over a low heat for 20 – 25 minutes.

To test for doneness, spoon a small quantity onto a clean plate; when the butter mounds on the plate without liquid separating around the edge of the butter, it is ready for processing. Another way to test for doneness is to remove a spoonful of the cooked butter on a spoon and hold it away from steam for 2 minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon. Pour contents into a jar and store in the fridge for 1 month or the freezer for up to a year.

BBQ pork ribs (Serves 6 people) – a lollcakes original

2 to 2.5kg pork spare ribs
125g butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
125ml (1/2 cup) vinegar
250ml (1 cup) water
125ml (1/2 cup) ketchup
250ml (1 cup) barbecue sauce
62.5ml (1/4 cup) tomato paste
62.5ml (1/4 cup) apple butter
juice of 1 lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place ribs in large frying pan or roasting pan. Cover with lightly salted water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour, or until meat is tender, but not quite falling off the bone. Remove from heat, and drain.

While the ribs are simmering, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic until the onion softens. Remove from the heat. In a blender, combine vinegar,water, ketchup, tomato paste, apple butter, barbecue sauce and lemon juice. Pour in the melted butter mixture, and purée for 1 minute.

Pour into the saucepan, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.Place the cooked ribs in a roasting pan, and mix with the sauce. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

Preheat barbecue for medium-high heat.Brush the grill hotplate with oil. Cook ribs for 10 to 20 minutes, or until well browned, basting with sauce and turning frequently.Serve with salad and potatoes.

Apple Meringue Pie – adjusted from

1 1/2 cups (250g) plain flour
125g butter, chilled, chopped
1/3 cup castor sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon chilled water
jar apple butter
juice of 1 lemon
3 eggs

For the pastry, combine flour, butter and sugar in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add yolk and chilled water. Process until dough just comes together.Turn pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until just smooth. Shape into a disc. Wrap in baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Line a 7-8-inch flan case with the pastry and bake blind.

Meanwhile, separate the eggs and keep the whites aside. Mix the apple butter with the egg yolks and lemon juice and fill in the pie shell. Beat, the egg whites until very stiff, then very gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar. Either bake for about 25-30 minutes in a very moderate oven, 325°F and serve hot, or bake for about 1 hour in a very slow oven, 275°F

5 Responses to “September Daring Cook’s challenge – preserving and apple butter”

  1. 1 Honey @ honeyandsoy 14/09/2010 at 8:50 pm

    Oh my what a feast! I can’t even decide which is my favourite, but Soy just went WOW!!! at the pork ribs… Yay to first BBQ! I say bring on summer!!!

  2. 2 Ellie 14/09/2010 at 9:00 pm

    Wow – this is amazing. I can’t wait to try that apple meringue pie – I have never heard of it before!

  3. 3 Anna Johnston 15/09/2010 at 11:23 am

    Hey Loll, I’ve been following some of the other preservers who are doing this challenge too. I love doing preserves so this really interests me. I’ve never made Apple Butter but your recipe suggests its sort of a thick apple sauce (I like the name Apple Butter better).
    What an awesome feast you’ve made there huh.., the ribs look delish.
    Great job.

  4. 4 Renae 16/09/2010 at 1:41 pm

    Wow, great job on the challenge, and I love that you included what to do with some of the butter!

  5. 5 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 16/09/2010 at 3:39 pm

    Wow, I didn’t realise that apple butter didn’t have butter in it-I thought it was like a lemon curd. Great accompaniment to pork though! 🙂

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