I've been kind of homesick recently. There are plenty of times where I just wish for a second I could look out my window and see the gorgeous rolling green hills of Pennsylvania's Valley and Ridge. My mom has been going through a lot, and I just want to be there for her, to hug her. And you ask, how does this relate to your apple butter craving? Well, apple butter is one of those quintessential Pennsylvania Dutch foods, and I was born and raised in good old south-central PA. Given I am a vegetarian, I only feel nostalgic for the sweet items, like whoopie pies, shoo-fly pie, fastnachts, and pretzels. Delicious.
When I make the pilgrimage back to PA Dutch country, there are a few places I always want to visit. When I think of fall, I think of apples. When I think of apples, I immediately think of Brown's Orchards. Seriously, they have real apple cider, yummy hot and cold, and also as a slushie!! Amazing!! They had a barrel of smaller apples by the door so kids that came with their parents could have a free apple for visiting the store. Cute and nutritious, no? I lamented my need for apple butter, and my sister answered my call: She shipped me not one, but TWO jars of apple butter from Brown's! Oh, the delight to have it in my custody, and to share a bit of my childhood with my husband. It will tide me over until my next visit with the fam.
So I needed to use the goods, to display their flavor. I grew up having it on toast, as my great-grandmother showed me, but there had to be another way. I recalled this wonderful crumble I'd found. It is tasty, and you can throw it together very quickly. My substitution: apple butter instead of jam, and it is perfect. The author wrote that she found there was too much crumble topping so she froze it, but really people, when can you have too much crumble topping?? As the picky-eater child that I was, I always took the piece of crisp with more crisp than fresh fruit. So by all means, if you prefer less, maybe halve the crumble recipe, but me and the huzz both agree the full recipe yields maximum deliciousness. I found myself wanting to add more spices to the crumble, but don't! You want the dominant flavor to be the apple butter, right? Trust me, you do.