At last it’s fall in New York. The crisp, cool air is a nice reprieve from the long, hot summer in the city. Of course, I am scrambling to get into fall mode. Apple-picking was first on the list, and I was able to come away with a good haul of Macintosh from an orchard upstate.
I look forward to making this applesauce every fall. I love the flavor balance of the apple and citrus combined with fall spices. And the butter. The butter is necessary. I am going with Julia Child on this one. But because I am a bit of a health nut, I don’t add any extra sugar. Just let the apples do all the work and you will have a sweet, slightly tart, and flavorful applesauce. I have tried this with Braeburn, Gala, and Macintosh apples and all were good and turn out naturally sweet when cooked. Granny smiths might be a little on the tart side, Fuji might lack in flavor. If you want to spend a little extra on the apples, I’m sure Honey crisp would be great, too.
- 6 lbs apples
- zest and juice of 2 large navel oranges
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon allspice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 lb unsalted butter
- I like to zest and juice the lemon in the bottom of a large pot with 1/2 cup water, then cut the apples into 1 inch cubes and put into the acidulated water. Here's a secret- You don't have to peel the apples! I must have spent hours over the several times I've made this applesauce peeling pounds and pounds of apples, but you really don't have to because the peel gets soft while cooking and then blended. You really can't tell it's still there and you will actually use more of the apples having not peeled them.
- Once you've cut the apples, making sure to remove all of the core, zest and juice the oranges together in the pot with the cinnamon and allspice. Place the stick of butter on top and bring to a gentle boil on medium, uncovered. Bring down to low, or whatever temperature your stove slightly simmers but is not too wild. Cover and cook for 1.5 to 2 hours or until everything is soft. Mix well with a wooden spoon. You should have soft apples that break down with the spoon, along with expanded liquid. Pulse mixture carefully in a blender until just blended but not totally pureed. You should be able to get it to a stage where the peel is entirely incorporated but the sauce is still thick, chucky and not too runny. Enjoy while still warm in your favorite mug.