Sunday, October 24, 2010

An Apple a Day...

I went to the mountains a week ago and stopped at an orchard on my way home (among other places, but the orchard was much more exciting than Home Depot!). After hearing of friends' success with making applesauce, I decided that I needed to try it. On a recommendation from the multi-talented Beth Somers, I bought York apples, and then I didn't touch them again until my friend Sandy arrived on Friday. Per his request, we had a culinary adventure in making applesauce, with such success that I will keep this one in my repertoire! Easy and good, you can tweak it to be sweeter or more savory. Mark Bittman of the New York Times says it's good to mix horseradish with applesauce if you're serving it with pork. While I did not do that, I did play with it quite a bit. Here it is.

ALW's Applesauce
- 4 good-sized York apples (if you're at an orchard or reputable produce place, ask what would substitute if they do not have any Yorks, or use the Interwebs to find a comparable apple)
- water to cover
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tbsp of good unsalted butter (I used Kerrygold, and I do think it makes a difference!!)
- 2 pinches of salt
- 4 tsp of brown sugar
- cinnamon to taste

Start by filling a bowl with water, juicing the lemon directly into it. Watch out for seeds!

After thoroughly washing the apples, core and cube them, placing them into the lemon water. You do not need to peel them as the skins will pretty much dissolve as the apples cook. Place the entire contents of the bowl into a minimum 2 quart pot with a lid, along with the 2 pinches of salt. I used my Le Creuset (naturally) multifunction pan, which is a 3 quart pot.

Turn the heat to medium (if using cast iron, higher if using aluminum or another type of pot) and bring the mixture to boiling. I covered the pot during this stage. When it begins to boil, turn the heat to low and let it simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure that the apples do not burn to the bottom of the pan!

The apples are ready for seasoning when they have gotten soft, and the peels have largely disintegrated. This will give your applesauce a beautiful pink color. Add the butter and brown sugar at this point, tasting to see if it is to your liking. Add cinnamon if desired. Play with your flavorings!

Let it cool a bit before serving initially. This is so yummy when still a bit warm, and the flavors have even more of a chance to meld.

Makes 4 servings.