I know it’s been around for a while, but I just want to say that central heat is amazing. How I survived the past four winters with my little space heaters and dangerously vintage 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 instantly hear the whoosh of hot air flowing throughout my apartment. I suppose this is how people who are accustomed to modern-day conveniences feel like when they turn on their new surround sound system for the first time. I am the maestro of my thermostat, you guys!
Although I could keep my place as warm as a Tahitian beach house through February, I have no desire to do so. After enduring those chilly winters, I feel like something’s wrong if I am warm enough to walk around the house barefoot and in pajama shorts as leaves fall off trees in the 40-degree weather outside.
Cold weather calls for sweaters, comfort food and general coziness, which means that I’ll be keeping the thermostat down comfortably low. That way I can fully enjoy cold weather comfort food like homemade applesauce, which warms up the house and fills it with a glorious sweet, spiced apple scent better than any candle.
This rustic applesauce is more like apple pie filling than the mealy, uniformly textured store-bought applesauce. While I remain indifferent in the great homemade pumpkin purée debate, there is no question when it comes to applesauce. This hearty, chunky homemade applesauce made from ripe, in-season apples puts the store-bought kind to shame.
This recipe for maple-sweetened applesauce caught my eye as I read through Diane Rossen Worthington’s latest cookbook, Seriously Simple Parties, which is just what it sounds like. In the headnote for the recipe, she explains that covering the pot of apples at first basically steams them, then uncovering the pot later in cooking allows the liquid to reduce and that sweet apple goodness to intensify in flavor. This sounded like a good plan to me, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could make applesauce in just twenty minutes of stove time. Please make it before apple season is over!
- 3 Gala apples (or another variety of sweet red apple)
- 3 Granny Smith or pippin apples
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons real maple syrup*
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
- dash of sea salt
- Peel, core and chop the apples into 2-inch chunks. In a heavy, nonreactive Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat, combine the apple chunks, maple syrup, cinnamon and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the apples have softened up a bit.
- Uncover the pot and continue cooking, stirring occasionally to break up the larger chunks, until the apples are soft but still have some texture (5 to 10 minutes). Remove from heat and, if necessary, add more maple syrup, cinnamon or lemon juice, to taste. Serve warm or chilled; let it cool to room temperature before storing it in the fridge.
- Adapted (just barely) from Seriously Simple Parties by Diane Rossen Worthington.
- Yields about 3 cups of applesauce.
- Although I haven't tried these substitutions, Diane suggests that you could use Asian pears instead of Gala apples, or honey or agave syrup instead of the maple syrup.
- *If you'd like to reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe, you can use water in place of the maple syrup, or in place of part of it. The applesauce is still pretty sweet without it!
- If you want a fine applesauce, purée the final product with an immersion blender.
- Diane says this applesauce will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.