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Cardamom-Spiced Apple Butter
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 1½ pints (3 cups)
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
15 cardamom pods, cracked open
5 whole cloves
2 cups pomegranate juice
2 cups light brown sugar
Two 6-inch pieces of lemongrass, smashed with the side of a knife
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 pounds tart apples (10 to 12 apples), peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
1. Place the cardamom and cloves in a tea ball or wrap in a doubled layer of cheesecloth and secure the bundle with kitchen twine.
2. To a heavy-bottomed pot, add the pomegranate juice, sugar, lemongrass and lemon juice. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until an apple chunk easily breaks apart when mashed against the side of the pot, 12 to 15 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat. Remove and set aside the tea ball and lemongrass (you'll add them back to the pot in step 4). Transfer the apple mixture to a food processor and purée until smooth. Set a fine-mesh sieve over the pot and use a rubber spatula to push the purée through.
4. Return the tea ball and lemongrass to the apple mixture and cook over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until the apple butter is thick and a spoon leaves a trail that fills in after 5 seconds, 30 to 40 minutes.
5. Divide the apple butter into 3 half-pint jars and refrigerate or hot-water-process to preserve for up to 1 year. Store in a cool, dark, dry place. After opening, refrigerate for up to 1 month.
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