Applesauce isn’t just for babies. Sure, this very basic version is perfect for tender palates, but it also works as the base for many a sweet treat. In the fall you might try swapping in 1 1/2 pounds of pears for half of the apples and a bit of caramel in place of the maple. (Omit the maple syrup if serving with savory foods.) In the summer, swap out some of the apples for red plums for a tangy and a beautifully pink variation that’s lovely served over vanilla ice cream. Add a bit of grated ginger and a few plump medjool dates to make a sophisticated purée that would be nice with some whipped cream or even a pork chop. Make extra, as it doubles easily and freezes well, too.
- Serves: 3 persons
- 3pounds apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into 2-inch chunks, both tart and sweet varieties like Granny Smith, Gala and Pink Lady
- 2tablespoons lemon juice
- 2tablespoons maple syrup, plus more as needed
- ¾teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of kosher salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
Step 1In a large heavy-bottomed pot, combine apples, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, maple syrup and cinnamon, cover, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the apples have softened, around 15 minutes. Remove lid and cook for another 5 minutes, until any excess liquid cooks off.
Step 2For a chunky sauce, use a potato masher to carefully mash the apples. For a smooth sauce, transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse to your desired consistency. If you like a thinner sauce, add up to 1/2 cup of water.
Step 3Taste and add a bit more maple syrup as necessary. (It will depend on the combination of apples.) Stir in a pinch of kosher salt.