- 20 (about 6 1/2 pounds) apples, such as Empire or Golden Delicious, peeled, cored, and quartered
- 1 cup apple cider
- 2 tablespoons Calvados, a French apple brandy (regular brandy can be substituted)
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
- 1 small pinch of ground cloves
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Combine apples, apple cider, Calvados, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, cloves, sugar, and lemon juice in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place mixture over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring often with a large wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until apples are broken down and saucy, about 1 hour. Mash any large pieces of apple with large wooden spoon to help them break down.
Reduce heat to medium. Using a rubber spatula, scrape out apple mixture from pan, and transfer to a small saucepan. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until apples are completely broken down and butter is very thick and dark, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove from the heat, and let stand to cool.