Thursday, October 17, 2013

Applesauce: Make It Today, But Don't Eat It Until Tomorrow

Seriously, your applesauce will taste 10x better the day after you make it. I am an applesauce purist. No sweeteners, no cinnamon, no cloves or nutmeg. Okay, mostly a purist. I added a teaspoon of ground Grains of Paradise (my winner for "Best Spice Name" and a great spice for apple pie. Or gin.), to this batch but I could have easily left it out. If I want apple spices, I'll make a baked apple, or a pie. (Mmm, pie!)

Sierra Beauties. Washed, then cut into quarters or eighths.

 The only tough decision you have to make is whether you want to do the heavy lifting up front (peeling and coring the apples) or at the end (getting rid of the cores and seeds and skin), by using a food mill after the apples are cooked. I prefer the latter.It also reminds me of when my mom made applesauce. She'd cook the apples, but whatever kid that was old enough and that was closest to the kitchen was pressed into duty milling the cooked apples with the Foley Food Mill (still around, but made for Mirro). For some reason, she always referred to it by all three names, as I do now. Mine's an OXO - smaller than my mom's, with three disk sizes - coarse, medium and fine. I use the medium for applesauce. The fine disk is perfect for milling tomato sauce. The fine disk also makes quick work of raspberries (and similar berries) when I make sorbet.

If I don't have time to mill, I can stick it in the refrigerator for a day but most important, you don't lose the taste and the color of the skins.

If I had to choose just  one apple from which to make sauce, I think I'd choose Jonathans or maybe Gravensteins, but applesauce can benefit from 2-3 types of apples. Think tart + sweet or tart + sweet + floral. Whatever you choose, applesauce is best made from the fresh fall-crop apples.

After about 15 minutes of cooking, after the water came to a boil.
Liquid? You can add water, cider or juice, but just enough so that the apples don't scorch. A batch of 5 pounds of apples takes about 30-ish minutes to cook and you need to be vigilant in the those last 15 minutes, stirring every minute or so and adjusting the heat down if necessary.

Your Wooden Spoon Doesn't Belong Here...

Your best friend in those last 15 minutes of cooking is not a spoon or a silicone spatula but an angled paddle. Stirring and turning the apples, clearing the sides and bottom of the pot and getting into the corners is what this tool was made for.

Makes: Approximately 2 quarts of applesauce

  • Five pounds of apples = five quart heavy-bottom dutch oven (approximately)
  • This will last for 5-ish days in the refrigerator or a couple of months if frozen. Freeze in airtight containers or freezer bags (my favorite choice). 
  • I recommend that you refrigerate the sauce overnight before serving chilled, or at room temperature.
  • 5 lbs apples
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • water or apple cider or juice
  • Peel, Core, Cook Method: Wash, peel, core and cut your apples into quarters (small apples) or eighths (large apples); or
  • Milling Method: Wash and cut your apples into quarters (small apples) or eighths (large apples).
  • Add 1/2 inch of liquid and a pinch of kosher salt to a heavy-bottom dutch oven that is large enough to hold the prepared apples within 3 inches of the top of the pot.
  • On medium high heat, add all of the apple pieces to the pot, cover and bring to a boil.
  • When it reaches a boil, uncover the pot and lower the heat so that the liquid is at a medium simmer.
  • Turn the apples every 5 minutes for the first 15 minutes.
  • During the next 15 minutes, turn and stir the apples frequently, making sure that they are not sticking. You may need to adjust the heat down - you do NOT want to scorch the applesauce! A good measure of when your apples have reached the 'sauce' state is when there are no pools of liquid, just burbling sauce. When you've reached that point, remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool.
Finishing the Sauce (once it has cooled down):
  • If you peeled and cored your apples at the prior to cooking: Mash the sauce with a potato masher or a stick blender until it is as smooth or chunky as you desire; or
  • If you have a food mill: Place the food mill with the medium disk attached over a bowl. Ladle the cooked apples (a couple of ladles at a time) into the mill and mill the apples into the bowl, discarding the leftover seeds, skins, stems and core.

No comments: