Homemade Applesauce

Maybe it’s the Thanksgiving season (or maybe it’s because I’m entertaining more now than ever!), but I’m developing an obsession with make-ahead side dishes.  My perfect evening with guests (holiday or not) involves uncorking a few bottles of wine, throwing a pre-assembled entree into the oven, and either tossing together a salad or serving a few side dishes that are meant to be enjoyed at room temperature.

I was catching up on my Barefoot Contessa episodes the other day when I watched Ina Garten make homemade applesauce, which is a perfect make-ahead dish.  The recipe basically involves peeling a few apples, throwing them (along with a few other ingredients) into a Dutch oven, baking the apples for an hour, and then stirring everything together.  Easy peasy.

I made a half recipe (4 servings) since I was just cooking for two; double (or triple, or whatever) the ingredients if you’re cooking for more.

First, I zested and juiced 1 large navel orange and 1/2 of a lemon; I put the zest and juice into a large bowl.  Next, I peeled, quartered, and cored 1 1/2 pounds of Granny Smith apples (4 apples, in this case) and 1 1/2 pounds of Honeycrisp apples (3 apples, in this case), reserving the peel from one of the Honeycrisp apples.  I tossed the apples in the orange and lemon juice/zest, poured the mixture into my Dutch oven, and placed the reserved apple peel on top of the mixture.  I added 1/4 cup of packed light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice and covered the pot with its lid.

I baked the mixture at 400F until the apples were soft (1 hour), removed the apple peel, and whisked everything together until the applesauce was smooth.  I served the applesauce at room temperature.

Homemade Applesauce

The applesauce turned out really yummy, if a bit tart.  I loved the thick, creamy texture and the flavor of the spices…  It just feels like fall.  Next time, I think I’ll use a higher ratio of sweet apples to tart apples (maybe 2/3 sweet, 1/3 tart).  To Ina’s credit, the three sweet apples she recommended (Macoun, McIntosh, or Winesap) were not available when I went to the grocery store, so perhaps using the Honeycrisp apples is what set the balance off.

Peeling apples is always a bit of a pain, but I absolutely love that I can put this together, walk away for an hour, stir it together, and let it sit until the meal is ready.  I think this recipe is going to come in handy over and over again this fall and winter.

TIPS:  The red (Honeycrisp) apple peel goes into the mixture to add color while it bakes.  If you don’t care about the color, you can leave it out.

Recipe link: Homemade Applesauce

1 Response to “Homemade Applesauce”

  1. 1 sandysays1 November 21, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Sounds like a yummy recipe. I’ll pass it along to my human’s wife. SandySays1.wordpress.com

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