Apple Pumpkin Butter and a Cinderella Story

With a jar of this decadent Apple Cider Pumpkin Butter in your fridge, you can keep autumn in your kitchen even when winter winds howl. Slather a rich, golden spoonful onto toast, biscuits, or pancakes, or stir a dollop into yogurt or oatmeal for a decadent morning treat. Simple 4-ingredient recipe that’s easy to make at home.  (skip to recipe)

biscuits with apple cider pumpkin butter

Come.

Come into my  kitchen, friend. I’ve put the kettle on and baked some biscuits. The windows are all steamed up from the pumpkin butter I’ve been simmering. Let’s have a cup of tea and a warm biscuit and cozy up while the wintery world lathers and swirls outside.

It’s been a while since we’ve chatted and we have so much to catch up on. I want to hear your news, and I’d love to tell you mine. How is your uncle doing? Did your husband get his promotion? And how are the kids – did they have fun at Halloween?

I’ve been gone for the last couple weeks, gallivanting, growing, and living out a dream. I travelled across the country, expanded my horizons, and learned a whole heap. The beautiful landscapes of Ontario and Quebec were the backdrop for my small adventures. Have a cup of tea, and I’ll tell you about it.

I flew out to Ottawa to attend my first Food Bloggers of Canada conference. Wow, what a weekend! It was so wonderful to connect with a whole herd/gaggle/tribe of us food writers. I found my people! Food blogging can be a very lonely occupation – mostly done in my pyjamas and apron (sometimes with the stylish addition of rubber boots from quick dashes out to the garden) and amid a pile of dirty dishes, pots, and bowls. My boundaries of existence tend to run from grocery store, to garden, to kitchen, to computer screen. To find myself surrounded by a crowd of like-minded (read: slightly kookaloonie) people who understand this blogging life was like finding long-lost family. New connections were forged. I can now imagine these new friends in their kitchens and at their computer screens across the country.

While at the conference, we were fed extremely well (just ask my blue jeans), and at one of our breakfasts we sampled a delicious apple butter. Elizabeth Baird, that most kind and gracious doyenne of the Canadian food scene, pointed it out in her keynote address to us that morning, remarking that this apple butter was just as apple butter is meant to be – pure and unadultered by spices (oops, don’t tell her about my recipe for sweet and spicy apple butter). I couldn’t get the taste or the idea out of my head and came home thinking I needed to make a pumpkin variation. Four iterations later, I’ve come up with a recipe that is just the right balance of clear, tangy apple flavour and earthy, buttery pumpkin. Five simple ingredients  produce this thick, luscious spread – the radiant remnants of summer captured in a jar for moments of blissful pleasure when your world looks like this:

Apple Cider Pumpkin Butter; the wintery world outside my back door

this is the view I faced outside my kitchen window after being in Ontario and Quebec for a couple weeks, where we’d just left a world with half the leaves still on the trees and green grass everywhere

Here, have another biscuit, slather on some of that pumpkin butter, and I’ll tell you about the second part of my adventure.

Apple Pumpkin butter in a jar

Raymond joined me in Ottawa after the conference, we rented a car, and spent the week enjoying the sites, sounds, and tastes of Montreal and Quebec City. Fantastic adventures. (I’ll save that for another post.)

Kitchen Frau goes to Taste Canada Awards!

Let me go back to the beginning:

Three months ago in July, on a regular old morning, while in my pyjamas (I promise, I do get dressed occasionally) drinking tea and checking messages, I received an email announcing that my blog had been shortlisted for a Taste Canada Award. My hands immediately started shaking and I had to put the tea cup down. What? I couldn’t quite take it in.

But yes, this little ol’ blog had somehow made it into the finalists’ list of blogs being considered for a prestigious Taste Canada Award – Canada’s most highly regarded honour for food writing. I was included in the category for Health and Special Diets, along with such notable names as Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows (a two-times New York Times bestseller cookbook author), Nicole Axworthy of A Dash of Compassion (another cookbook author), Heidi Richter of A Simple Green, and  Sonia Wong of Saltnpepperhere. Right then and there I felt like a winner. All the self-doubt I’d been feeling about my blog, all the niggling questions – was it any good? why couldn’t I get the hang of all the tech and social media stuff? was it too simple? did people even read it? – disappeared like the last sip of tea from my cup. Somebody, somewhere, had read it – and liked it!

I have spent the last three months hugging that glorious thought to myself like the coziest of fall sweaters; a private blog-affirming award. I felt like a winner.

And even though I didn’t win an award at the gala (Oh She Glows won gold and A Dash of Compassion won silver), that didn’t matter at all. I had made it into the winner’s circle, one of only five in my category and I felt like a winner inside. The beautiful, classy, funtastic awards ceremony and gala, held at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto on October 30th, helped to make me feel like a true winner just by virtue of being included. (See all the 2017 winners here.)

What an evening! The Academy Awards of Canadian food writing. Amazing eats provided by some of the best chefs in the country and a ‘ritzy’ ceremony (how cool is it that such an awesome adjective stems from this actual hotel?) hosted by TV personality Noah Cappe and food expert Claire Tansey. I was Cinderella at the ball (though with a few more years, pounds, and chin hairs than befits the traditional princess image).

red carpet photo at the Taste Canada Awards

okay – so this is as dressed up as it gets

I feel like I haven’t come back to reality yet. I’m still living and reliving the glow of that magical night (and yes, I am in my pyjamas as I write this – I know you were dying to ask, but even Cinderella can’t stay in her ball gown all day).

So, even though my footmen have scattered and my gown’s turned back into teddy-bear-printed flannel, there’s still the little matter of a pumpkin to deal with . . .

Cinderella's coach will make great pumpkin butter

All it needs is a bit of TLC and a transformation, and poof! there’s a jar of luscious tangy pumpkin butter to spread on our biscuits, our morning toast, or onto a stack of warm pancakes. Why not try swirling it into a bowl of yogurt or dolloping it onto a bowl of hot oatmeal? And wouldn’t little jars of this make great hostess gifts over the holidays?

a bowl of yogurt with pumpkin butter and walnuts

Take a serving of plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, stir in 2 to 3 heaped tablespoons of rolled oats. Swirl in a tablespoon or two of luscious Apple Pumpkin Butter, top with a few more oats or some granola, and a handful of toasted walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds. Voila! Breakfast. I love to fill a container of this pumpkin butter/oat yogurt and take it to work with me. Try freezing some of the pumpkin butter in ice cube trays. Then put your oatty yogurt into a container and push a frozen cube of pumpkin butter down into it (helps keep it cold, too). Pack the nuts and oats separately, and pop it into your bag for a breakfast-at-work or a light and delicious lunch. When ready to eat, stir it up lightly, sprinkle on the toppings, and enjoy.

With Heartfelt Gratitude to my Readers

Thanks for stopping by for tea, and thank you from the deepest part of my heart to all my lovely readers and friends for coming by and reading my blog, and subscribing, and for supporting me with your comments and social media likes and shares. Without each and every one of you, I wouldn’t have the continued inspiration to keep showing up here and sharing my life and my kitchen. Thanks for sticking by me, even in my pyjamas. You are what keeps me coming back to this space and I am so very honoured you care to visit.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: There are three levels of easiness/laziness you can use when making this pumpkin butter.

1. Artisinal, Craft, Lovingly-Tended, Totally-From-Scratch Homemade: Make your own apple cider with a cider press or make fresh apple juice (cider, really) with your electric juicer. Make your own pumpkin purée by roasting a pumpkin, puréeing the flesh, and draining it.

2. Busy Cook on a Rainy Day Homemade: Use purchased sweet apple cider or 100% pure unsweetened apple juice and canned pumpkin purée.

3. Harried Home Cook Wanting-to-Get-Out-of-the-Kitchen-to-have-a-Glass-of-Wine-on-the-Couch Homemade: Use ¾ cup (180ml) of thawed, frozen apple juice concentrate (unsweetened/the kind you mix with water to make apple juice) and skip the reducing stage. It won’t be quite as intensely apple-flavoured, but still delicious. Mix the apple juice concentrate straight with the canned pumpkin purée, sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and boil for 10 minutes or until desired thickness. Boom. Done! 10-minute Apple Pumpkin Butter.

*A ‘pinch of salt’ is the amount you can pick up between your thumb and index finger.

*Here’s a recipe for light and fluffy gluten-free biscuits that would go wonderfully with your apple pumpkin butter.

Golden Pumpkin butter in a jar

Apple Pumpkin Butter

  • 4 cups (960ml) apple cider (non-alcoholic) or unsweetened pure apple juice
  • 1 can (398ml/14oz) pure pumpkin purée (or 1¾ cups + 2 tablespoons homemade, drained pumpkin purée)
  • ¼ cup (45gms) packed brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt

Pour the apple cider or juice into a large (2 quart/litre) saucepan. Bring to a boil and continue to boil vigourously until reduced to ½ cup (120ml). Keep a measuring cup by the stove and eyeball it – when it looks close, pour the cider in and measure it. If it’s more than half a cup; boil it some more. If you’ve, oops, boiled it too long; add water to bring the level back up to half a cup.

Whisk in the pumpkin purée, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

Return to a boil over medium heat and continue to cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the pumpkin butter is as thick as pudding. The cooking time will depend on the diameter of your pot and the heat of your burner. Using a splatter screen will help to minimize mess on your stove; the mixture plops and splutters as it thickens. It will also thicken a bit more as it cools.

Scrape the pumpkin butter into a jar and store refrigerated for up to two weeks. You can also freeze part of your pumpkin butter in a freezer safe container, or in ice cube trays (transfer the frozen cubes to a zip top bag).

Makes about 1½ cups (360ml) of delicious apple cider pumpkin butter.

Guten Appetit!

 

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Luscious Apple Pumpkin Butter - quick and easy cheater's method

 

You might also like:

Apple Butter

Apple Cider Making

Pumpkin Freezer Fudge

Pumpkin Slab Pie

 

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10 Responses to Apple Pumpkin Butter and a Cinderella Story

  1. Sabine macleod says:

    You look absolutely amazing. Yes you are a winner and I feel very privileged to call you my friend. Keep up the amazing work. I love your blogs. Masses of hugs, Sabine

    • Margaret says:

      You’re making me blush! Thank you so much for your support and for your lovely comment. That’s what keeps me inspired! A big hug to you, too.

  2. Joan says:

    Congratulations Margaret on being a finalist in the Taste Canada Awards!!
    I love reading your blogs and making your recipes:)
    I’m going to make your apple pumpkin butter next. I had crab apples galore this year and my son made apple juice with some. We just cooked down our Jack-o-lanterns so would love to try your recipe. Do I add the pumpkin after the apple juice has boiled down to half a cup along with the sugar etc?

    • Margaret says:

      Whoops! Thanks for catching that, Joan! I forgot to add the most important ingredient! Fixed now. And thanks for being a loyal reader – that means so much to me. Hope you like the pumpkin butter. I’ve been loving it on everything. If your crabapple juice is quite sour or intense in flavour, you may have to either water it down or add a bit more sweetener – but I’d taste it first and add it at the end, only if it needs it. Crabapples can have such a lovely flavour. Also, if you’re using homemade pumpkin puree, and it’s not as thick as the canned stuff, you may have to cook your butter a little longer. Happy pumpkin cooking! Cheers. 🙂

  3. Elsa says:

    Congratulations Margaret!
    You are a winner to all of us! We love your blog, the recipes, photos and your fun witty writing.
    What a nice looking couple you are!
    We are so happy to call you our amazing friend and Kitchenfrau!

    Elsa, Nickie, Sheena and Heiner

    • Margaret says:

      Oh, Elsa (and the rest), thank you, thank you, for your wonderful support! It means so much to me that you read my blog and keep on sticking with me. Having such awesome friends helps keep me inspired. You are the best!

  4. Nancy Jay says:

    CONGRATULATIONS on receiving this prestigious honour, Margaret. I was just telling Sonny that you have been writing and publishing since you were just a wee little girl. I remember reading your fiction stories, poetry, and listening to you report on the local radio station while riding the bus to school way back when we were in Beaverlodge High School. You are a truly smart, beautiful, loving, and talented sister. So glad you are inspired again. Cannot wait to see what the juices will turn into now…..happy creating.

    • Margaret says:

      Nancy, your love and support warms me from the inside out. Thank you, sister, for that vote of confidence. You make my day. Yes, I guess the writing bug bit me a long time ago, and writing down my thoughts has been part of who I am for a long time. Being part of the Taste Canada celebration has totally inspired me to keep on doing it. Thanks again! Hugs.

  5. Nicoletta says:

    One of the greatest things this blogging adventure has given us is getting to know and be friends with you and Raymond. You are a lovely couple and you, Margaret, are very talented. Your food is amazing (we’ve had the pleasure to eat at your place a few times 😄), and your writing is so beautiful and captivating. No wonder you’ve been shortlisted for the Taste Canada Awards! Great job, and please keep on doing it! P.s. I’ve made apple butter, too, with a touch of cinnamon, recipe from Ontario growers. That apple butter really inspired us 😉!

    • Margaret says:

      Nicoletta, you are so kind, and your warm words have just touched my heart. Thank you so much. We feel the same way; very lucky to have gotten to know you and Loreto. It’s such a wonderful blessing to meet kindred spirits who share many of the same passions. Thank you for the lovely times we’ve spent together and looking forward to many more. It’s so cool, how one little taste of that apple butter at the conference breakfast had us both churning ideas in our heads how we could do something like it the minute we got home. Food inspiration comes in the most diverse places!

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