I know it’s been around for a while, but I just want to remark that central heat is fantastic. How I survived the past four winters with my modest space heaters and dangerously old floor heaters is beyond me. In my new apartment, all I have to do is scootch the little dial on my wall a smidge to the right and I quickly hear the whoosh of hot air pouring around my apartment.
I imagine this is how folks who are accustomed to modern-day comforts feel like when they put on their new surround sound system for the first time. I am the maestro of my thermostat, you people!
Although I could keep my apartment as warm as a Tahitian beach house through February, I have no desire to do so. After experiencing those harsh winters, I feel like something’s wrong if I am warm enough to roam around the house barefoot and in pajama shorts as leaves fall off trees outside.
Cold weather calls for sweaters, comfort food and general coziness, which means that I’ll be putting the thermostat down delightfully low. That way I can truly appreciate cold weather comfort food like homemade applesauce, which warms up the house and fills it with a wonderful sweet, spiced apple aroma better than any candle.
This rustic applesauce is more like apple pie filling than the mealy, evenly textured store-bought applesauce. While I remain impartial in the big homemade pumpkin purée argument, there is no question when it comes to applesauce. This meaty, thick homemade applesauce made from ripe, in-season apples puts the store-bought type to shame.
This recipe for maple-sweetened applesauce caught my attention as I went through Diane Rossen Worthington’s latest cookbook, Seriously Simple Parties, which is just what it sounds like. In the headnote for the dish, she notes that covering the pot of apples at first practically steams them, then exposing the pot later in cooking causes the liquid to diminish and that delicious apple goodness to increase in flavor. This sounded like a decent concept to me, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I could prepare applesauce in just twenty minutes of stove time. Please create it before apple season is finished!
- 3 Gala apples (or another species of sweet red apple) (or another variety of sweet red apple)
- 3 Granny Smith or pippin apples \s¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons authentic maple syrup* \s1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or more to taste) (or more to taste)
- splash of sea salt
- Peel, core and cut the apples into 2-inch chunks. In a heavy, nonreactive Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat, combine the apple pieces, maple syrup, cinnamon and lemon juice. Cover and boil for about 12 minutes, or until the apples have softened up a touch.
- Uncover the pot and continue cooking, stirring periodically to break up the larger bits, until the apples are soft but still have some firmness (5 to 10 minutes) (5 to 10 minutes).
- Remove from heat and, if necessary, add additional maple syrup, cinnamon or lemon juice, to taste. Serve warm or chilled; allow it cool to room temperature before storing it in the fridge.
\sAdapted (just barely) from Seriously Simple Parties by Diane Rossen Worthington.
Yields around 3 cups of applesauce.
Although I haven’t tried these changes, Diane advises that you may use Asian pears instead of Gala apples, or honey or agave syrup instead of the maple syrup. \s*
If you’d want to limit the amount of sugar in this recipe, you can use water in place of the maple syrup, or in place of half of it. The applesauce is still very sweet without it!
If you want a fine applesauce, purée the final product using an immersion blender.
Diane says this applesauce can keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.