Homemade applesauce is a snap to make, and if you use an assortment of apples, all with different flavor profiles, it makes a more interesting sauce. You don’t have to bother to peel or seed the apples, because once they are cooked, they are put through a food mill. Cooking the apples with the skins on gives the applesauce a pink blush. (Of course, if you don’t have a food mill, then peel and seed the apples first.) Applesauce freezes well, so if you don’t plan on using it within a few days, portion it out and freeze. It should last about 6 months.
- ¼ cup sugar, plus more to taste
- 1 cinnamon stick, split lengthwise, or ½ teaspoon ground
- ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh ginger
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 3 pounds assorted apples, cut into eighths
- Cook Time: 40m
In a large saucepan, stir together ¼ cup sugar, the cinnamon, ginger, vanilla bean (if using vanilla extract, add it later), salt, and ½ cup water. Add the apples and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a food mill fitted with the disc with the smallest holes, and puree. Discard the skins and seeds. Taste the applesauce, and if it needs more sugar, stir it in while the applesauce is still warm. Serve warm or chilled.
Variation: Swap in a mix of rip Bartlett and d’Anjou pears; or, if you can find them, Packham and Comice. (Don’t use Bosc, as their cooking time will be substantially different from that of the other pears.) Use light brown sugar instead of granulated sugar. Since the pears are juicer than apples, start with just ¼ cup water, adding more only if the pan seems too dry.
This recipe can be found in our Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook.