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.
LauraNovember 20, 2009
This looks delicious. I make my own unsweetened apple butter, since I find that using apples as well as natural apple juice and warm spices is a sweet enough spread. In that case, would I need to add extra sugar to the pie, do you think?
Nutmeg NannyNovember 20, 2009
This looks great! I made a pie like this three years ago for Thanksgiving. It was a big hit…yum!
LindaNovember 20, 2009
Nicole, I was going to ask the same about a less sweet apple butter. I also wondered about some other butters like the cranberry apple that Trader Joe’s carries. Think you’d get a good pie from different ones? Like that spiced pear butter the other day?
NicoleNovember 20, 2009
Laura – For unsweetened apple butter, I would add in about 3/4 cup brown sugar and any spices you might like. This is basically treating it like plain pumpkin puree in a pumpkin pie.
kathyvegasNovember 20, 2009
I LOVE this idea! I actually dislike pumpkin pie (I think it’s the smell of the raw pumpkin). But I like the texture of the custard and the flavor of the spices….and I love apple pie, so this recipe might solve my problem. I have printed this out and will buy some apple butter this weekend to try this out…what’s not to love?
rachelNovember 20, 2009
apple butter sounds divine!
CindyNovember 20, 2009
This is so creative – you should have entered it in a contest! My daughter prefers apple pie to pumpkin. Wonder if she’d like this one!
Erika from The Pastry Chef At HomeNovember 20, 2009
This is a great alternative to a pumpkin or traditional apple pie for Thanksgiving. I usually only use fruit butters as spreads.
AnnaNovember 21, 2009
I made a pumpkin pie with Walden Farms apple butter and it was excellent. Never tried a pie with just apple butter.
TrishNovember 21, 2009
Seriously? Wow….I am definitely going to try this!
Home with MandyNovember 21, 2009
What a great post. I just made homemade apple butter, do you think this would work with my homemade version?
ShaunaNovember 21, 2009
This is such a clever idea. I’d never have thought of this. I’ll let you know when I make it!
Amy LNovember 25, 2009
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I make jars and jars of apple butter every year with apples we get from local orchards, and I’m always looking for recipes that use it as an ingredient. This pie looks yummy.
SarraJKNovember 26, 2009
Made this for Thanksgiving. It was a big hit!
DianeNovember 27, 2009
I tried this recipe with Trader Joe’s apple-cranberry butter and my husband said, “stick with your pumpkin pie recipe.” I won’t be making it again.
NicoleNovember 27, 2009
Thanks for the feedback, Diane. It’s good to know what works – and what doesn’t – work with a pie like this. I have some cranberry apple butter in the fridge. I think I’ll save it for something else now!
AbuttonDecember 1, 2009
I made this pie for Thanksgiving and it was good! I’m not much of a pumpkin pie fan, so I appreciated the variation. But I do wish that it had a stronger apple flavor, although that may have been a problem with the apple butter that I used. However, I’ll be keeping the recipe for sure! 🙂
suzerDecember 7, 2009
Oh dear…I don’t think I can buy apple butter in Oz:(
JTFebruary 6, 2010
I tried this today and it turned out looking great! However, I can’t taste the apple butter at all, just a blah custard. Maybe if it had more sugar and some cinnamon it would seem more apple-y, but perhaps the apple butter to evap milk ratio is a bit off somehow.
GinaApril 12, 2010
My local grocer doesn’t carry any apple butter, so I’ve ordered a batch of it off the web. I can’t wait until it arrives so I can try this recipe!
laptop battery manufacturerMay 15, 2010
It had a great flavor, so I didnâ€™t tamper with the spicing. The result was one of the easiest pies Iâ€™ve put together and it tasted great.
BeckyJSeptember 29, 2010
Oh, this looks fabulous! I can’t wait to try this. I will report back my findings as well as the rating my husband and two teenage sons give. Thanks!
VooDewAugust 22, 2013
This looks like exactly what I’ve been looking for! YAY! Cannot wait to make it and devour it and then make it again as a part of our traditional holiday table! Thank you!