Lauren Groveman a recipe for delicious living

Homemade Applesauce

(December 6, 2007)
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Lisa asked Lauren:

Dear Lauren,

Last year, at Chanukah, we went to an event and had latkes that were served with applesauce that had such a smooth consistency and an incredibly fresh taste (my kids loved it!). Also, the color was pinkish instead of yellow, usually found in store-bought jars. I would love to recreate that kind of applesauce this year, with our holiday latkes. Thanks for your reply.

Lauren says...

No problem! For the best applesauce, use Macintosh apples since their pulp quickly becomes soft, yielding the smoothest consistency. I always use an old-fashioned potato masher to occasionally squash the apples as they cook. Also, for a finished applesauce with the rosiest color, choose apples with the most red in their skins. As the apples cook, their color bleeds into the mix, which yields a really pretty result! I've used both, a wire sieve and a food mill to strain the skins and seeds out of the cooked apples and, truth be told, they both require a bit of muscle, but the aroma and taste is beyond worth it. (If you really want an easier method, albeit less colorful, simply peel the apples before cutting them into wedges.) So, here's my recipe for Homemade Applesauce that I always serve with crisp Potato Lakes. I hope this duo makes you and your family as happy as they do mine.

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Homemade Applesauce

Yield: about 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups)

homemade sauce

This smooth, spiced and not-too-sweet version of applesauce is just wonderful and the perfect accompaniment to potato pancakes. Macintosh apples make the best applesauce because of their willingness to quickly surrender their texture and also because of their rosy color, which gives the finished applesauce a beautiful pink hue. Leftover applesauce will stay great for up to three weeks in the refrigerator-although it won't last that long! Any time I've suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that's unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

    Special Equipment:

  • Sturdy fruit wedge cutter (optional)
  • 6 to 8-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan with lid
  • Large medium-mesh wire strainer or food mill
  • Nutmeg grater
  • 3 pint-size or 1 quart and 1 pint-size jars with screw-top lids or heavy-duty plastic containers with lids
    Ingredients:

  • 11 large Macintosh apples, unpeeled, scrubbed, dried and each cut into 8 wedges (you'll cook the cores along with the rest of the fruit)
  • 1 cup apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/3 granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine table salt
  • 1 scant teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1) To cook the apples: Place unpeeled apple wedges (including the cores) with the apple juice or cider and the cinnamon stick(s) in a 6-to 8-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir. Cover and bring the mixture to a full simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer the apples until very tender, stirring and mashing frequently, 15 to 20 minutes.

2) To assemble the applesauce: Position a medium-mesh wire strainer or a food mill over a large bowl. Transfer the cooked apples, in batches, to strainer or food mill and force through into the bowl beneath, leaving the skins, cinnamon sticks and any seeds behind. (A flat-edged wooden spatula works perfectly when pushing apples through a strainer.) Discard what's left in strainer or food-mill and repeat with the remaining cooked apples. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Cool the applesauce to room temperature, divide among jars or plastic containers and secure them with lids. The applesauce will keep perfectly for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

3) To serve: Enjoy the applesauce chilled or slightly warmed.

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Lauren Groveman recipes have been featured in many national magazines and local newspapers. Her books "The I love to Cook Book: Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking for Family and Friends" and "Lauren Groveman's Kitchen, Nurturing Food for Family and Friends" are available through Amazon.com.

For in depth information on Lauren Groveman as a writer, teacher, TV & radio host, as well as her recipes and cooking tips visit her website at www.laurengroveman.com

Lauren is a Larchmont resident. She is happily married and blessed with three wonderful children.