When I started writing about this recipe, hyperbolic adjectives like “easiest,” “darkest,” “richest” tried to creep into the title. Already a mouthful as it was, I resisted that urge. So just know, this is a most decadent fruit butter. While I usually sway towards unsweetened slow cooked butters, this recipe is deserved of the sweetness it receives. The brown sugar compliments the dark, lush caramelized flavors of the apples and pears. The sea salt adds that delicious savory edge that so many of us love in salted caramel.
It has become a really lovely treat for breakfast – I add a dollop to Greek yogurt and top with homemade granola. It’s sweet enough to balance the tart yogurt and adds great depth to the granola.
Also, can you imagine how delicious this butter would be spread between two layers of cake, covered with a luscious frosting? I think I might have a new dessert on my must-make list. Ooooh, and a great holiday gift would be a jar of homemade cake mix and a jar of salted caramel butter. I do have to emphasis that this might be the perfect holiday present for those of us who gift homemade goodies. For very low effort, you get an extreme payoff. The yield is large and the final product feels special.
Because the fruit cooks for so very long in the slow cooker, the color is much deeper than many fruit butters. The cooking time also allows the peeling to disintegrate and become one with the rest of the fruit’s flesh. So all you have to do is halve and core your fruit, toss all ingredients in and walk away. In addition, what sort of apples and pears used is absolutely flexible. I happened to have 3.5 pounds of each fruit exactly, but all apples, or all pears, or whatever ratio you have, use it!
slow cooker salted caramel pear apple butter
makes four pints
- 3.5 pounds apples
- 3.5 pounds pears
- 1/4 cup water
- 6 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste [or extract - or a spent vanilla bean pod]
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Place all ingredients into a large slow cooker [6-8 quarts]. Turn the slow cooker on low and cover. Walk away for twelve hours.
- Now return to the slow cooker. Using an immersion blender or potato masher, puree the fruit mixture until smooth.
- Prop the lid partially ajar using a wooden spoon or chopstick. Keep the slow cooker on low. Let cook for up to twelve hours.
- Around eight hours in the second cycle, return, stir and check the taste and consistency. [You can adjust the salt, sugar, and add any spices if you'd like then.] I like to let the fruit butter get very dark and cooked down, but you can adjust to your liking. My final product cooked the full 24 hours.
- Store in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks or water bath process. Ladle the butter in to hot, sanitized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.