For those unfamiliar, both applesauce and apple butter are pretty similar. They are often cooked using the same sugar and spices, however apple butter is cooked much longer than applesauce. The extended cooking time results in a smoother spread that is thicker and more caramelized than applesauce. Oftentimes it has a bit more depth of flavor, too.
For this recipe we upped the ante by adding an additional level of flavor and infusing our Portland Rose City Chai. This tea is a great accompaniment to a standard apple butter with its hints of rose, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, lemongrass, and blackberry. Because this tea is very flavorful, slightly floral, and sweet on its own, we were able to omit some of the additional sugar and spices typically found in apple butter recipes.
The final product is a dynamic and flavorful spread. It is slightly darker than most apple butters, and has a sweet and slightly floral aroma. It contains hints of spice and almond that come directly from the tea. The overall combination lends itself well to just about any place a jam or fruit butter would be used.
Apple butter is typically served as a spread for toast or cream cheese sandwiches, but we definitely encourage you to think out of the box with this condiment. It makes a great addition to a ham and cheese sandwich, as a sauce over a roast pork, or even the base of a fall flavored barbeque sauce. It is wonderfully versatile and a great addition for any stocked pantry.
Chai Infused Apple Butter
- 4 pounds assorted apples, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups strong brewed chai
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- Pinch Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Combine the apples, chai, brown sugar, and salt in a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the apples are soft, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
With an immersion blender (or in a blender in batches), puree the mixture until.
Place the blended mixture in the oven and bake, uncovered, until thickened and deep amber in color, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir often, about every 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Serve immediately or, once cooled completely, store in the fridge for up to 1 week.