Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bourbon apple pumpkin butter

Slow cooker bourbon apple pumpkin butter -- so simple to make in the crockpot, using fresh pumpkin.

easy bourbon apple pumpkin butter, made in the crockpot

It's the third week of October: Are you sick of pumpkin yet?

I hope you appreciate that I haven't been overwhelming you with pumpkin recipes; I've been trying to let apples and other fall favorites have their time in the sun. But I couldn't resist this recipe. It showcases not only flavorful fall apples but also finally-seasonally-appropriate pumpkin ...

... and booze!

There you go: Possibly the most perfect fall recipe yet, no?

I have no doubt you have seen lots of recipes flying around the blogosphere this month for pumpkin butter. But have you really looked at them or made any of them? It's safe to say that 99 percent of them involve cooking down some canned pumpkin.

Come on, peeps: We can do better. (Ninjas always do better.) And it's not hard.

If you're going to go to the effort to make a pumpkin butter, why not use some fresh pumpkin? Jeesh, and if you throw it in a crockpot and then immersion-blend the bejesus out of it, it practically cooks itself.

Which is exactly what I did.

You've got a lot of flexibility with this particular recipe. If you want it to be more apple-y, simply increase the number of apples and reduce the pumpkin. Or change up the spices. Also, I used a combination of brown sugar and maple syrup to sweeten -- but I bet using all maple syrup or maple sugar (or even maple bourbon) would give it an extra Vermont-y kind of flavor.

And, if you really want the recipe to be special, don't skip the bourbon.

(Pffft: You are a follower of The Ninj, right? Of course you don't skip the bourbon. Evah.)

easy bourbon apple pumpkin butter, made in the crockpot

Please remember, too, that no apple or pumpkin butter is safe to water-bath can, as the acidity is too low). Always store your apple pumpkin butter in the refrigerator or freeze it for later use. If you decide to give it as a gift, let the recipient know that it's not shelf-stable.

How should you use it? Let me count the ways:
  • Whip up a batch of Crockpot Apple Pie Oatmeal
  • Swirl it into hot oatmeal or cold vanilla yogurt for breakfast
  • Slather it on toast or shmear it on warm banana bread
  • Add it to a fall cheese plate
  • Serve it as a tangy condiment for roast pork or chicken
  • Use it as a dipping sauce for soft pretzels

How do you enjoy eating apple pumpkin butter? Do you have a "secret" ingredient like my bourbon that sets your recipe apart? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know.

easy bourbon apple pumpkin butter, made in the crockpot

Bourbon Apple Pumpkin Butter

2 crisp, firm apples (Honeycrisp are great in this), peeled, cored and chopped
1 small pumpkin (about 2 pounds), peeled, "gutted" and chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup bourbon (or whatever your favorite whiskey-like booze is)

Combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the bourbon in a large (6-quart) slow cooker, along with a little bit of water (if all the pumpkin doesn't fit in your crockpot, that's fine). Cook on HI for several hours until the pumpkin is sort of soft when you poke it with a fork -- basically, soft enough to blend, as this will be the next step (this took about 3 hours for me).

Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until well pureed. Cook on LOW for another 6 hours or so, or until the butter has reached a thickness / consistency that you like. Add the bourbon and cook on HI for about another hour or until the liquid is  reduced.

-- print recipe --


  1. This sounds amazing. You know I just found out that you can't can (sounds stupid, doesn't it)...but you can't can pumpkin butter....CRAZY. I was all ready to get my game on and add some wonderful pumpkin butter to my stash. I have to rethink my whole plan now. Freezer space is limited in my house....I think it might be time to ask for a deep freezer for my garage...then I can store all the pumpkin butter I want. This would definitely be on my list to make. Who doesn't love bourbon in canned goods!

    1. I know -- kind of a bummer, right? You *definitely* need to get a freezer. Even a small chest freezer would work (and they are cheap and don't take up much garage space)!

  2. Is it also too dense to pressure can? (My guess is yes, as no pureed pumpkin is ever recommended for canning.) "Butters" are the one item we haven't gotten into yet.

    1. I can't advise on that, Michelle, as I haven't done any pressure canning -- you can freeze it, though. I did just get a pressure canner for my bday, so I'm excited to start trying some new things!

    2. I have canned pumpkin butter and pumpkin puree, it is not advised but I have never had a problem with it.

  3. Can you used canned pumpkin in this, instead?

    1. I wouldn't recommend it -- I think the canned pumpkin would cook down too much and might scorch before the apples got soft enough. Don't be scared of fresh pumpkin! If you can carve a jack-o-lantern or cut up a squash, you can do it!

  4. If i were to omit the pumpkin, can i just replace it with more apple? I want to can it and give it as a dinner party gift.

    1. Absolutely, Justin! Let me know how it turns out for you.

  5. Can I do this on the stove rather than a slow cooker?

    1. Absolutely! It will take less time but you will need to be there and monitor it while you do it. Enjoy!!