Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Homemade Applesauce

First of all, I must say I'm sorry to see the end of Gourmet magazine. Conde Nast has lost advertising revenue and is shutting down Gourmet and a number of other publications. I've enjoyed it and its editor Ruth Reichl and they will be missed, though I'm sure we'll hear much more from Ruth in years to come. If you haven't had a chance, pick up a copy of Tender at the Bone and its sequel Comfort Me With Apples. These two books join to create her memoir laced with recollections of times in the kitchen with her friends and family.

Now, on to more optimistic things. Since I’m overrun with just-picked apples, and Henry was out of applesauce, I just had to make it. The little guy can’t go a day without his dose. Won’t he be happy when he tastes Grandma’s home-made concoction rather than the ready-made version in single-serving cups, the ones with the pull-off lids!

I made applesauce last night, after dinner.I referred to a recipe in Katie’s Joy of Cooking but altered it to suit the ingredients on hand. It’s all very simple, really. I used Honey Crisp apples from our day at Hicks Orchard (I’ll be using and eating them for months!) water, a little bit of sugar, some apple pie spice, and at the end a dab of butter and vanilla for a smooth, silky finish . Once the major job of peeling, coring, and dicing the apples was over, it practically made itself. I just watched and stirred now and then for about half an hour. The aroma was beautiful, filling the apartment with the scent of warm apples and autumn spices. Son-in-law Bill couldn’t wait so he had a spoonful over Philadelphia Vanilla ice cream, which he shared with Henry. Those were two happy Hofmann men.

I packed a small container of applesauce for today’s lunch.

APPLE SAUCE (about a quart)

A dozen (plus or minus) of your favorite apples, peeled, cored, and diced

½ cup water

½ cup sugar (depending on tartness of apples – more for tart, less for sweet)

1 tsp. apple pie spice (or 1 tsp. cinnamon and a pinches of nutmeg and ginger)

In large, heavy sauce pan, bring all ingredients to a boil and let simmer, covered, for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.

Remove lid and continue cooking until apples are very soft. Mash with a potato masher or push through medium-mesh strainer to desired consistency (that’s what I did). I like to leave a few lumps.

Remove from heat and stir in a dab (your dab might be smaller than mine!) of butter and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Cool to room temperature and chill.

Great as is or with pork chops, potato pancakes, or warm over vanilla ice cream!

Photo image: http://www.makingthishome.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/applesauce.jpg

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