Sunday, October 17, 2010
Jams And Jars: Grown-Up Applesauce
This 'grown-up' version, from Fine Cooking magazine, is wonderful, especially when still slightly warm. I'm sure the fact that the apples were only a day or two off the tree had something to do with it, but let's not discount the role the butter and brandy play. The addition of half a vanilla bean, and the recommendation that the pod steep in the sauce as it cooks, also elevates this to something far greater than what you'd typically pick up in the grocery store.
I used a variety of apples, among them Empires, Galas, Cortlands, and Fortunes, which worked really well because some fell apart while others stayed chunky and provided some bite in the finished sauce. Needless to say this would pair wonderfully with pork, but it's delicious enough on its own.
8 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp water
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 to 4 tbsp granulated sugar
1 to 2 tbsp brandy
Combine apples, butter, and water in a heavy pot. Add seeds from vanilla bean and tuck pod in among the apples. Cover the pot, set it over medium heat, and simmer until the apples are tender and have cooked to a rough purée, stirring them gently from time to time, 20 to 25 minutes. Depending on the variety of apples used this may take slightly longer. Go with your instincts on this one, as well as your preference in terms of texture. I don't mind if some of the apples have a bit of bite to them, I just don't want them raw in the centre.
Add the sugar, stir, and continue cooking uncovered for a few minutes to let the sugar dissolve. Taste the sauce for sweetness; it should be tart-sweet. I went with 3 tbsp of sugar and found that to be sufficient. If you want it sweeter, add more sugar. Stir in the brandy and simmer a few minutes more to cook off a little of the alcohol. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool, leaving the vanilla pod in to steep. Take the pod out before serving.
Source: Fine Cooking