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Apple Butter for Hand Pies


This flavorful spread is the perfect filling for our Apple-Butter Hand Pies and works beautifully on toast.

  • Yield: Makes 2 cups

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 1996


  • 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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

Cook's Notes

When stored in an airtight container, apple butter can be refrigerated for up to one month or frozen for up to six months.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS12338102
    13 OCT, 2010
    I thought in reading the recipe that it would be very adaptable. I used both apples and pears for my fruit butter. Towards the last hour I felt it needed a boost. I added about 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar. It didn't make the recipe too sweet. This will definitely be my go-to recipe. It's easy and delicious. But you do want to have time to tend to it.
    6 NOV, 2008
    I use a crock pot to simmer all my "butters" this recipe has too many ingredients for apple butter. guess its the "high dollar apple butter" I just cut out the things i wouldnt use anymore with any other recipes..cardomon and mace. whatever you have for spices is fine. i also use "al spice" in place of one. do your own tasting and see what you like.
  • ShannonGrace
    26 JUN, 2008
    There is another Recipe listed for apple butter and that is the one that they used on the show with Chevy Chase. It doesn't require sugar. When you type Apple Butter into the search and the options come up its the first recipe for apple butter.
  • mermaid58
    25 JUN, 2008
    on the show it said to bake the butter - this recipe says to cook on the stovetop - which one is correct?