Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Cinnamon Maple Applesauce
One of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions is to make homemade applesauce. Usually my Nanny Paula makes the applesauce and man-oh-man is it good! She uses these special plums she can only get 2 weeks of the year and leaves on the skin so that it has a distinct pink color and unique flavor. This year, we're hosting my dad's side of the family which means we won't get to have Nanny Paula's. I attempted to make an apple sauce that could even compare to NP's - so of course I consulted the blog-o-sphere and the adjusted to make it my own.
We decided to use Macintosh apples partially because they were on sale at Whole Foods ($1.99 per 3-lb bag) and partially because they mush perfectly into apple sauce. You can use any kind you like. I actually recommend buying whatever is local to the region you live in - these Macintosh were from around here in Canton, MA, but if I was still in Michigan (GO BLUE! BEAT OSU!) I'd probably use Honeycrisp. Mmmm there is nothing like a Michigan-grown Honeycrisp. (Sorry, I digressed a little there, Thanksgiving is also a BIG football weekend this year!!)
This recipe is incredibly easy to make. Just like my rhubarb applesauce, it's a one-pot, throw-it-in-and-let-it-do-its-thing kind of recipe. Love those. Especially for big holiday meals. It was nice to be able to make this a couple days ahead of time and get it out of the way before Thanksgiving Thursday. Mom and Dad helped me peel and cut all the apples, which was a huge help and a fun family activity. We were certainly missing my baby bro and his extra set of hands.
The flavor was pretty amazing. For the amount of apples, there wasn't too much maple syrup or sugar so it wasn't too sweet. I can't stand store-bought sweetened applesauce with HFCS and I promise this is nothing like that. Granted, it was no where near Nanny Paula's applesauce, but I think I did pretty well for myself. My bestest friend said it was amazing, and she would know, she eats with the best chefs in Chicago every day. Now it's sitting in the fridge waiting for a fun Thanksgiving tomorrow! I can't wait to eat some more. Have a wonderful Turkey Day, everyone!
Cinnamon Maple Applesauce
loosely adapted from How Sweet
makes about half a gallon, maybe more
9 lbs apples (I used Macintosh)
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
3 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1. Peel 2/3 of the apples. Cut all of the apples into slices (using an apple corer or just a knife). Discard the cores.
2. Add 1/2 cup water to a large dutch oven or heavy pot. Add apples and remaining ingredients and toss well.
3. Cook over medium to medium low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples have completely turned to mush and applesauce is beginning to boil.
4. Smash any apple slices that remain whole with the back of a wooden spoon. Remove cinnamon sticks and, if desired, remaining apple skins.
5. Serve hot or refrigerate until very cold, then serve. Can also be frozen and defrosted in the refrigerator.