11.17.2011

better late than never

Last weekend I took a little road trip up to my Aunt and Uncle's cabin in Wisconsin. It was so nice to get out of the city and spend a little time in front of the fire catching up. We took a hike around the lake, played with the twinkies (my cousin's 1 year old twins), and made a trip to the Apple Barn. While it's a little late in the season for picking apples, they still have a ton in the barn. The great thing about apples is that they're available year round. Even though I didn't get to pick any from a tree this year, I still felt like I should share this recipe with you. 

When I was a kid, my cousin Lindsay and I used to go to her Grandmother's house for play dates. Although she wasn't my biological grandmother, Grandma Boyd was always like a second grandma to me. I have random memories of her house, but one of my strongest memories is her homemade apple sauce. She'd always have a batch made for us. It was the best applesauce I've ever had. Slightly chunky with a hint of cinnamon, this apple sauce had a deep brown color and packed a rich apple flavor. I wasn't able to get her recipe but I'm pretty sure I nailed it. 

The secret to my applesauce is roasting the apples instead of cooking them on the stove. It caramelizes the apples while they cook and adds a deep, rich flavor and color. You don't even need any sugar, it's naturally sweet and perfectly balanced on it's own. One bite took me right back to Grandma Boyd's house. I hope you enjoy this easy applesauce recipe!



roasted applesauce
yields 4 c. 

ingredients:
5 fiji apples
5 gala apples
¼ c. apple cider
½ t. cinnamon
¼ t. ground nutmeg
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375ยบ F. Cut apples into about ¼ inch chunks with the skin on. Place in a glass baking dish or whatever roasting pan you have on hand. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt over the apples and place in the oven for about 30 minutes. Once the apples have softened up a bit, add in your apple cider and continue roasting for another 30 minutes. 

When the apples are brown, soft and juicy, they're done! Pulse them in the food processor or with an emersion blender if you have one. I like mine a little chunky but you can puree it to your preferred texture. Eat it hot or place it in the refrigerator and let it chill for a few hours. 

improv style:
you can use whatever apples you like and any combination. some bake better than others though. i recommend the following apples: ida, gala, fiji, macintosh, honey crisp, and holiday. they bake nicely and semi-hold their shape meaning you'll get a great consistency/texture out of your applesauce when you blend it up. you want to avoid apples with a grainy texture like golden delicious. you could even do half apples half pears. also, you can adjust the amount of cinnamon or nutmeg. i'm not the biggest fan of cinnamon so i use a tiny bit to bring out a depth of flavor. you can definitely add more. you could substitute cinnamon for pumpkin pie spice or leave it out completely. if you don't have apple cider you could use apple juice, lemon juice, water, or even another juice like cranberry or grape. you don't have to leave the skin on the apple but after you blend it up you don't even notice it. it's a lazy cheat that ends up benefitting you by giving you all the great fiber from the skin. if it's not sweet enough for you, add some brown sugar or honey to the mixture. although i would leave this to the end because it's naturally sweet as is.

if you don't have a blender or emersion blender, you could try mashing the apples with a potato masher or fork. you could also put it in a food processor or use egg beaters to blend it up. you don't have to roast the apples but i feel like it brings out another level of flavor. you could easily do this on a stove top and add in the liquid before cooking.

this is great on it's own but it would be good on top of pork chops or served with your holiday latkes if you're into that sort of thing.




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