There are many reasons to like pumpkin pie, from the flavor of the pumpkin itself to the spices to the consistency. The consistency is probably the most unique thing about pumpkin pie. It is a custard – made with eggs and milk – but one that is made thick with the addition of pumpkin puree. Sweet potato pie is just about the only other pie that shares this texture. Should these two orange vegetable-based pies the only pair of pies to have this smooth, yet satisfying consistency? I think not. I used a jar of Smuckers Cider Apple Butter to make Apple Butter Pie.
Apple butter, and all fruit butters, are very thick fruit purees. They have no butter in them and get their name from their smooth consistency. They can have an intense fruit flavor because the pureed fruit is thickened so much before the butter is finished. The Smuckers butter is no exception. It contains apple cider and apples and is a variation on the recipe that The original Smucker used to found the jam company about 100 years ago. It has a dark color and an almost caramel apple flavor to it, but it isn’t too sweet on its own. You can use another brand of apple butter if you prefer, but look out for this one in stores (it’s a seasonal item) if you don’t.
I made my own crumb crust with vanilla wafer cookies. A graham cracker crust would work just as well, as would a traditional pie crust. Any crust you use must be prebaked before filling. I also used a fairly standard 9-inch pie plate. If you use a deeper pie plate, your pie might need a few extra minutes in the oven. Since there is sugar added to the apple butter I used (and to most commercial apple butters), I treated the apple butter as though it were a pumpkin pie mix that already had sugar added. It had a great flavor, so I didn’t tamper with the spicing. The result was one of the easiest pies I’ve put together and it tasted great. It may have looked like a pumpkin pie, but the smooth filling smelled and tasted like a delicious apple pie!
This pie is going into holiday rotation for its ease of preparation and flavor. It might be hard to resist digging into a fresh jar of apple butter – but well worth it when you can dig into a slice of pie instead.
Apple Butter Pie
1 9-inch pie crust (vanilla crust recipe below)
1 16-oz jar apple butter
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and whiz until very smooth. Pour into prepared pie crust.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until center is mostly set (jiggles slightly when nudged) and a sharp knife inserted near the center comes out mostly clean. Cool to room temperature before slicing and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight, before serving.
Vanilla Wafer Crumb Crust
1 1/4 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine ingredients and stir well until mixture resembles wet sand. Pour into 9-inch pie shell and press into a firm, even layer over the base and sides.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until browned. Cool completely before using. Makes 1 crust.