If this is the first pumpkin butter recipe you’ve seen this year, then bloggers are doing fall wrong. There should be apples and pumpkins as far as the eye can see (and I promise I’m bringing you an apple butter recipe ASAP). If you’ve already seen a million recipes, the main difference with mine is that it’s naturally sweetened. I was pretty appalled at the recipes I’ve seen online calling for CUPS of sugar. Cups! Pumpkin is delicious – I see no reason to add even close to that much sugar.
I always see pictures, tweets, and general raves about pumpkin butter from Trader Joes. Unfortunately, there are no Trader Joes anywhere near me. So I did the only logical thing and bought 8 pie pumpkins thinking I’d make and can my own pumpkin butter. FALSE! The USDA does not recommend canning any sort of pureed pumpkin at all. Next best thing? Make a huge pile of pumpkin butter and roll around in it until I smell like fall forever. Err… or just freeze it.
I split this recipe between 3 jars. Keep one in the fridge for quick use and the other two in the freezer for up to 6 months. Leave at least 1/3 of the jar empty in the freezer to allow for expansion. If you can’t find naturally sweetened (or unsweetened) apple cider, you can use unsweetened apple juice and increase the spices slightly to suit your tastes.
½ c apple cider (naturally sweetened, if possible)
⅔ c pure maple syrup, to taste
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp ginger
⅛ tsp allspice
Preheat oven to 425° and fill a large casserole dish with a thin layer of water.
Cut the pumpkins in half (Google for help, it can be a little difficult). Scoop out the seeds (save for toasting, if desired) and place the pumpkins cut side down in the casserole dish and cover in foil.
Bake for 1 hour, until the pumpkin slides easily out of the skin.
Combine pumpkin and all other ingredients in a blender and puree until very smooth (can use a food processor or immersion blender).
Cook in a saucepan over medium low heat for at least 20 minutes, covered or uncovered (covered will prevent splashing but will take longer to thicken) stirring frequently until desired consistency is reached.
Store in the fridge for up to a few weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
If you can’t find naturally sweetened or unsweetened apple cider, use unsweetened apple juice and adjust syrup and spices slightly after cooking. Any liquid sweetener should work in place of the maple syrup. Makes approximately 2.5 pints. Serving Size 2 tbsp