Catholic Recipe: Lattwaerrick (Apple Butter)
Late in September is celebrated in the United States a day of Thanksgiving quite apart from the national holiday. It is held by the Schwenkfelders, a Protestant group who came from Germany in the year 1724 seeking religious freedom. In their wanderings they had met with persecution in many places and many of them had perished. Eventually those who survived, about forty families in all, came to settle in Pennsylvania. Worn and weary and poor, they reached Philadelphia on September 22nd, and two days later held a feast of thanksgiving. It was a very simple feast, consisting of bread and apple butter and water — nothing more.
Today the descendants of the Schwenkfelders are well able to hold a costlier celebration. But they still adhere to the old custom of a meal on this day, eaten after a thanksgiving service, of bread and apple butter and water.
Boil the cider for about fifteen minutes or until reduced by half. Wash, peel, and cut the apples; drop into the boiling cider and cook until tender. Press the apples and juice through a sieve or food mill. Add the sugar and spices and cook to the consistency of a thick paste. The apple butter must be stirred frequently to prevent burning. (In olden times it was customary to put a handful of well-scrubbed marbles in the bottom of the pan. This was supposed to help prevent scorching, but stirring was still necessary.) Traditionally, the apple butter was stored in earthenware crocks in a cool cellar. This quantity can be filled into hot sterilized jars and then processed for about ten minutes. And as the Pennsylvania Dutch would say, "make tight shut."Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951