I woke up this morning with a hankerin' for Baked Oatmeal. (It's in the oven now; recipe to follow.) But my recipe calls for applesauce, and... I'm out. I do, however, have a crisper drawer full of local apples, as any self-respecting New Englander (transplant or not) should at this time of year. Add to that the fact that Daylight Savings Time ended last night, and we were all up and at 'em well before 7, and voila! Homemade Applesauce.
This recipe is EASY and highly adaptable. If your apples are pretty juicy, use less water. If they're especially sweet, less sugar. Sweeten with granulated sugar or brown, agave nectar, maple syrup or any combination thereof. Instead of water, you can use unsweetened fruit juice. Spices! If you've read any of my recipes, you probably know I'm a fan of the Garam Masala (I like Whole Foods brand). I use it in all sorts of stuff. It's an Indian blend, usually including: black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cumin and coriander. I. Love. It. I use 3/4 tsp. of it in my applesauce. But if you are feeling a bit less experimental, try just simmering it with a cinnamon stick. Lastly, you can make as much or as little as you want. Double, triple... freeze it even. But I find 2-2.5 pounds of apples makes just enough to meet about a week of our (not-so-great) applesauce needs.
2.5 lbs cooking apples, peeled, cored and quartered (about 2 lbs after prep)
juice of one lemon
1/4-1/2 c. sugar (I used brown sugar)
1/4-1/2 c. water
3/4 tsp. Garam Masala
1 tsp. peeled, chopped fresh ginger (optional)
Place all ingredients in a large pot and simmer until apples are very soft, about 30 minutes. For chunky applesauce, mash with a potato masher (a good job for little "helpers"). Run through a food mill or sieve for a finer texture. Blend if you like it smooth.
Next, bake with it, serve it warm over vanilla ice cream, dip crispy french toast sticks in it. Or, my favorite: Pack it up for the kids' lunches and instruct them to look down upon those children with the store-bought stuff... Just kidding.