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Maple Pumpkin Butter

Sugar and spice are exactly what is nice about pumpkin butter.

Well, maple syrup and spices.

Pumpkin butter is my favorite, but apple butter is a close second. Some stores carry jarred fruit butters, including pumpkin, apple, cherry, apricot and others, if you don’t want to make your own. Fruit butter is smoother, creamier and less sweet than jam. more concentrated fruitiness. It is a type of preserve made by cooking fruit until an almost butter-like consistency is reached, hence the name. The fruit flavor is very concentrated because, compared with many jams, not too much sugar is added, allowing the natural fruitiness and sweetness to come through. You can use it as a dip for crackers or fruit or as a spread on toast. I don’t know if it will replace real butter as the toast-topper of choice, but it makes an excellent pairing or alternative (on occasion). There are many options, besides dressing up toast, that you can do with fruit butter, too. Try stirring it into a bowl of oatmeal on a cook morning or adding a spoonful to a batch of pancake batter for extra flavor. You can use it in sandwiches, or anywhere else you might use jam.

Making fruit butter is very easy: cook, puree, flavor and cook until thick. Once it is ready, you can can it in sterilised jars or store it covered in the fridge, if you are planning to use it in the next week or so. The level of sweetness and amount of spice can easily be controlled when you’re making your own preserves or any sort, so this is highly customisable. Because I have been known to substitute pumpkin butter for pumpkin puree on occasion, I like to keep the spices on the mild side, but you can bring it up to pumpkin pie levels if you prefer.

Don’t feel limited by this method. See it as a guideline and change the spices or sweetness as you like it.

Maple Pumpkin Butter
For each pound of cooked pumpkin (boiled until very tender) use ¼ cup maple syrup, 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spices and ½ tsp vanilla.

Slice pumpkin and remove the pulp and skin. Boil pumpkin until very tender and drain the water. Allow pumpkin to cool for at least 15-20 minutes. Process pumpkin in food processor, scraping down the sides occasionally, until very, very smooth. This will probably take a few minutes. Add in maple syrup, pumpkin pie spices and vanilla. Process for an additional minute. Return mixture to the sauce pan and cook, over low heat, until it bubbles. If your pumpkin is young, dense and fresh, this may not take very long because there will not be a lot of extra water in your butter. When butter is thick and has bubbled, transfer to sterilized jars. If you plan to use it within the next week or so, you may simply store it, covered, in the refrigerator.

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  • onesmartcookie
    November 1, 2005

    this is definitely a lazy question, but do you think you could get the same results with canned pumpkin puree? It’s just sooo much easier and more convienent. Like, if you just stirred together the puree, maple syrup, vanilla and spices, would it thicken the same way on the stove?

  • Melissa
    November 1, 2005

    Hey Nic,
    And to think I didn’t have room in my suitcase to bring back some W&S Pumpkin Butter……now, I have a recipe and a reason to cook!

  • nosheteria
    November 1, 2005

    Ooh, pumpkin butter, I have only ever had the apple variety. Sounds like a great recipe, like jam for the winter time.

  • Molly
    November 1, 2005

    Oooh, as a huge fan of the warming, winter spiciness of good apple butter, I have a very good feeling about this pumpkin butter business. Great idea, Nic.

  • rokh
    November 1, 2005

    wow i could almost taste it in my mouth. got to try it out if i happen to get pumpkin. its kinda rare here in malaysia.

  • meg
    November 1, 2005

    I’ll defintely have to try this. I made your pumpkin hummus yesterday–it was wonderful. Even my 14 and 16 year old boys loved it and they finished every bit of it. Thanks for a great blog!

  • Nic
    November 1, 2005

    Onesmartcookie – You could use it. I would add a little water to the puree to make it less dry, but it sould work out fine. You may want to puree it just to make sure it is very smooth, as wel.

    Melissa – My pleasure!

    Nosheteria – I do think it is perfect for winter and fall. Apple and pumpkin together make an excellent combination, too.

    Molly – Thanks. I often buy it, but it’s just dead easy to make. Tastes a bit better, too, if you can trust the chef’s bias!

    Rokh – I’d keep an eye out for it. You can use any kind of squash.

    Meg – Thanks so much. I’m glad that your boys liked the hummus, too.

  • bokbaksa
    November 1, 2005

    Hi Nic!
    I made apple butter several weeks ago amd have ever substituted that for eggs like vegan food.
    Your pumpkin butter is nice so I’ll try it.

  • Nic
    November 1, 2005

    I love apple butter, too. I have heard of subbing it for eggs, but haven’t given it a shot yet.

  • Anonymous
    November 2, 2005

    Can I make this with the big ol’ decorative pumpkin sitting on my porch, or does it need to be a smaller “pie pumpkin” to taste good?

  • Nic
    November 2, 2005

    I would recommend using the smaller pumpkins, as they tend to be sweeter and denser. Sometimes the flesh of the large ones is rather stringy. You could always give it a shot, though!

  • darnalmonds
    October 13, 2006

    First of all, let me tell you that I absolutely love your blog! It’s one of the few I really trust because of the whole cups/grams issue– I’m always afraid to throw off the balance among ingredients with cups measurement, and it never happened once with you!
    I was wondering, do you think I could use substitute this Pumpkin Butter for the Apple Butter in your Apple Pie Biscotti?
    I’m going to try making this anyway… maple syrup and pumpkin together sound just delicious.
    Thanks for everything, the wonderful blog and recipes, and your articles on Slashfood too! 🙂


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