Monday, March 1, 2010

Maple Monday-Maple Applesauce

If you've never had homemade applesauce, warm off the stove before then you've been missing out! It's amazing the difference between an overly sweet but bland jar of applesauce you buy at the store and spicey, flavorful made from scratch applesauce. It tastes and smells like...home or at least somewhere warm, familiar and comforting. Sure it's a little bit of work peeling, coring, slicing and blending but every once in a while when you want a real treat, it's worth it!


Tips:
  • Use a variety of apples for applesauce, I usually use 3. Pick a tart apple (like Granny Smith), a sweet apple (like Fuji) and a crisp "in between" apple (like Gala) and use a combination to create a unique and flavorfull applesauce. Stay away from Red Delicious though, it's a hand apple, not a baking/cooking apple.  I usually use the three varieties I mentioned above (2 Granny Smiths, 4 Fujis and 3 Galas).
  • You can add more or less cinnamon depending on your tastes. I don't like too much cinnamon in my applesauce so I tend to add a little less than a teaspoon. I do think some cinnamon compliments and helps blend the apple and maple flavors though.
  • To make this without maple syrup, you can leave it out entirely and add an additional 1/4 cup of apple juice or substitute it for 3 tablespoons of brown or white sugar.
  • I use an immersion blender to puree the apples. I find it's the easiest and most effective way to achieve the consistency I want, and I never have to transfer the applesauce out of the pan that I cooked it in. You can easily use a food processor (you may have to do it in small batches), a blender, or a food mill (I've used this method before and it works well).
  • This recipe is the basis for my homemade apple butter which I will share in a future blog entry, so file this away and stay tuned!


Maple Applesauce

8-10 apples, peeled and cored (3 varieties of apples)
1 1/4 cup apple juice/cider (can substitute water)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional


Bring apple juice, maple syrup and lemon juice to a low boil. Peel, core and slice apples into wedges. Add apples to boiling mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon. Let the liquid return to a boil and turn down heat.
Simmer apples over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, apples should be soft and liquid should have reduced by almost half.  Using an immersion blender (or food processor, blender or food mill) puree apples until desired applesauce texture is achieved. Serve warm or chilled, any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. This recipe makes about 4-6 cups of finished applesauce.

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