I just use whatever apples we have around, peeled and cored and cut into medium chunks. Into the saucepan over medium-low with a wee bit of apple juice, just to get them started. Lid on, they cook down and release liquid, keep cooking, keep cooking, keep cooking! The more apples, the longer, but at least an hour. Keep checking and stirring every so often. Lid off at the end, keep cooking, stirring occasionally till they're cooked down to the consistency you like. Cinnamon, nutmeg, itsy-bit of cloves. Taste and sweeten if need be - sugar, brown sugar, even artificial sweetener (my dad's a diabetic, so I use Splenda)..whatever your preference..start with a minimum amount - you can always add more. No food mill, no mashing, no straining. I've ever let it cook for almost two hours - longer = more concentrated flavor.
I make large batches of applesauce and can it. With 3 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, and 5 grandchildren It takes a lot. I make mine in a large(18 quart) roaster. I hate standing over the stove and the roaster keeps the temperature steady so you have to work pretty hard at ignoring this to burn it. I use a mixture of apples, this years mix is Johnathan, Liberty, Super Golden, and Melrose. We have a neighbor with a full scale orchard. :-)
Basically quarter and core the apples add 1 cup apple juice and cook on medium high if you will be staying close to the roaster or put it on low and let it cook for 6-8 hours. Then run it through a colander. It is kind of labor intensive but so worth the effort. If you like apple butter you can take a portion of your applesauce and put it into a smaller crockpot add cinnamon and cook it on low overnight. Check it in the morningand if it's thick enough great, if not cook for a few more hours. Again even temps make it hard to burn this.
I am making blends this year. We have a couple of older babies in the family this year and they both love applesauce. My middle daughter has requested pear/applesauce, plum/applesauce and carrot/applesauce. I am very interested in tasting the carrot/applesauce combo. We will be freezing the carrot one because there may not be enough acid in it to can properly.
Back in N.CA , outside the Bay Area, we had tons of apples fresh off the tree that Mom used. The tree we had was either a Red, or Golden delicious- leaning more towards the red as they had some red in them mixed with greenish tones. My uncle from Washington said that they were better than any apple he had from home, and commented on the super thin skins. Mom never added sugar, as they were sweet enough as is, same when she made apple pies. I love how it came out chunkier, and thicker than the pureed ones in the store. Mom didn't spice before canning, and we added cinnamon before eating. I still have a couple of cases that Mom canned back in 1999. Every time I crack one open, and eat it it brings back fond memories of her.
Applesauce on potato pancakes, or as a side with the porkchops mmmmmmmm!
I like to peel the apples, but I collect the peels and put them in a metal steaming basket over the apples as they're cooking. I like to think that some of the flavor from the peels makes it into the sauce... And I swear by an immersion blender for the final smoothing.
Dorie Greenspan has a recipe in her new book, Around My French Table. It is the first time I have made applesauce and it was incredible! I really like that it does not use cinnamon or nutmeg. I appreciate the sweet tart taste of just the apples, accented by a touch of vanilla. I pureed in my Vita Mix. This created a very smooth creamy puree, but I think I would like it just as much chunky.
re: Becca Porter
I grew up canning applesauce every fall with my mom and grandma - they always used Gravenstein apples - and always tons of sugar as they are a tart apple!
Now that I do my own canning, I have started using Melrose apples - they cook down very quickly (really good baking apples like Fuji do not really break down completely). The Melrose have tremendous taste and absolutely no sugar required! Sometimes, I throw in a few Honeycrisp or Galas to change the texture and flavor a bit.
I have a Victorio Strainer that I use when I can applesauce (you quarter the apples, steam them in a pot (with just enough water to coat the bottom) until mushy, then throw it all through the strainer - it spits out the seeds, stems, cores, peels) and you have perfectly smooth applesauce.
If I am just making a small batch to eat fresh, I usually peel and core them and once soft, just mash slightly with a masher. I like it chunky. It is excellent warm served on top of a spice cake and/or vanilla ice cream. A touch of cinnamon is yummy too. My son loves to heat it up on a cold night and sprinkle with cinnamon. It's also excellent to use as a fat substitute in some recipes - and also stirred into a bowl of oatmeal! And you can't forget the "porkchops and applesauce!"
Funny, throughout my life, my mother has made and canned applesauce from Gravensteins, and she has never added sugar or anything else - it's just quartered apples and enough water to prevent scorching, cooked down and run through a food mill. Gravensteins are sweet-tart, and the unsweetened applesauce my mother makes is sweet enough and is the most flavorful I have had.
Sweet Unsweetened Apple Sauce:
I just cooked some great applesauce.
I picked and used 4 Jonathan and Empire apples each and 3 Roman (I meant to pick 4) apples. I bought some local unsweetened apple cider, looking for sentiment on the bottom of the jug.
I peeled, cut and corded the apples and cooked them in about an inch of apple cider. I added 3/4's of a cinnamon stick and 1/4 teaspoon of McCormick's Saigon Cinnamon.
I brought the mixture to a boil on medium-low heat before setting it on low heat and covering it. 20 minutes of cooking on low heat left the apples still very firm and difficult to process in the food mill so I put the apples back on for another 20 minutes or so. This left the apples and apple sauce much browner than the earlier first batch. However they were much easier to process in the food mill this time.
I used a straining spoon and made a thicker batch by straining out much of the apple juice as I processed the apples. I added the remaining apples and juice to a second batch for a thinner sweeter batch.
I like really thick apple sauce - pretty much spreadable - to mix in with yoghurt and muesli. I get granny smiths, peel & cook with some water and a cinnamon stick till soft. Then (after removing the cinnamon stick!!) I puree the apples in the food processer and put the puree back in the pan (with the cinnamon stick added in again, and sometimes also some star anise), and allow it to cook down till thick, stirring as necessary. Sometimes I let it go for about 2 hours. The colour change is amazing - it turns a really rich golden colour. Absolutely no sugar required, and it keeps for ages in the fridge. As its so flavourful you really only need a little at the time, which also extends how long a batch lasts.
What you refer to as the "sentiment" at the bottom of the cider jug is fine to include in applesauce. Slosh a little water in there to loosen it, then pour into the cooking pot. You did not need any cider - just a half a cup water at the most to prevent scorching in the few minutes it takes for the apples to start giving up their juice. Not that it hurts to use cider - it's just not necessary. Whatever increased intensity of flavor you get from cider can also be achieved by minimizing the starting water. As a major cider devotee, I'd rather drink it as is.
Before I had a food mill I made applesauce as my mother always did: don't peel or core, just quarter and simmer until soft, then pour into a metal colander over a big bowl, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until most of the flesh has passed through. At the end, use a rubber scraper to press and stir. It's a good workout! I still don't peel or core. I like the pink color and added flavor imparted by the peel. Cinnamon and sweetener at the end (if needed), and sometimes a drop of almond extract.
I also love the method I learned from the Shaker Village in NH. Peel, core, and cut firm apples into scant half-inch dice. Put in a wide-bottomed pan over med-high heat, add grade B maple syrup, and stir until apples are tender and glazed. When cooled, the caramelly glaze looks and tastes like the syrup exuded by an apple pie.
I am not sure mine qualifies for apple sauce, perhaps smashed apples would be better. Just like smashed potatoes, we like our applesauce pretty chunky and don't let it get to puree stage. We are pretty lucky in Ohio that you can get great apples from farm stands. My favorite is Cortlands. We got a bushel of them in early fall and have been using them for crisps, crumbles, pie and "sauce".
To process them, we peel them, slice in half, use melon baller to core, cut in eights, first saute in large frying pan with a little unsalted butter, then add a little apple juice, cider or Calvados, along with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, sugar to taste (we don't like very sweet) to braise or stew them for 15-20 min. We don't like them mushy, but with some integrity left. Then take a potato masher and coarsely mash them. Taste and re-season. This also freezes pretty successfully. We use for meal accompaniments, can make sauce for boneless skinless chicken breasts, or as family dessert. Also good if you add a little maple syrup.
I grew up in a small town in central Washington, self-proclaimed as the "Apple Capitol of the World". I've made apple sauce with a lot of different apples and find that the type of apple actually makes a huge factor in the quality of apple sauce. My hands down favorite that I'd highly recommend if you find them are Cameo apples. They make the most beautiful honey colored, sweet/tart tasting apple sauce I've ever had. I core and cook over the stove in cast iron skillet with a bit of water until mushy. I use my food mill to get out the skins. The mill also provides a thick but creamy perfect texture.
This is my basic recipe. I'll be posting it on Food Blogga soon.
Homemade Apple Sauce
Yields 5 cups, cooked
8 McIntosh or Rome Beauty apples (about 8 cups), peeled and chopped
3 cups water
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
Place chopped apples in a deep pot. Add water, sugar, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, or until the apples begin to break down. Lower to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes, or until the apples are completely soft. Stir well with a spoon until a thick sauce forms.
Leave it lumpy and bumpy or puree it if you like it smooth. Make sure to let it cool first before pouring it the blender!
Let the sauce cool before serving.
I use sweet, juicy, meaty apples such as Rome Beauties, McIntosh, Gala, or Honeycrisp. Avoid tart and tangy apples like Granny Smiths and Pink Ladies. I leave the skin on one or two of the apples to impart a warm reddish color to the sauce. If you don't like the texture of the skin, you can remove it before serving or puree the sauce so it dissolves.
I use sweet, juicy, meaty apples such as Rome Beauties, McIntosh, Gala, or Honeycrisp. Though I love tart and tangy Granny Smiths and Pink Ladies for eating apples, I wouldn't recommend them for apple sauce. I leave the skin on one or two of the apples to impart a warm reddish color to the sauce. If you don't like the texture of the skin, you can remove it before serving or puree the sauce so it dissolves.
Use apples that have a lot of flavor and even better use an assortment of types.
My neighbor has a tree that has smallish unattractive apples that have great taste and are similar to Fuji apples. No one is interested in them so they tend to be at least 2/3 of the ones I use.
I quarter them, remove the cores and add just a little water and boil them for a while. I never remove the skin because it adds nice color and texture to the finished product plus you get extra fiber in your diet. I run it through a food mill mainly to break up the skin and larger pieces. If you use tasty apples it really isn't necessary to add anything.
I'll usually core and chop the apples; I don't usually bother to peel if just making for myself, since I don't mind the peel. Add about 1/2 inch of apple cider, a cinnamon stick, and a handful of raisins. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, sitrring frequently, until apples are very soft, then just stir well with a wooden spoon til it forms a thick, chunky sauce. I rarely add sugar--maybe sometimes a little maple syrup. Delicious warm on its own, or spread on waffles or French toast, or stirred into oatmeal, or paired with potato pancakes. Use a soft apple that collapses easily, like Macintosh.
People are always really impressed by this, even though it's incredibly easy to make. It also tastes about a million times better than that thin watery yellow stuff passed off as jarred applesauce.
Depending on my mood (ambitious versus lazy), I'll either peel and seed the apples or leave them as is before cutting fruit into eighths. I use a mix of apples, red and green, dumping them in a saucepan along with sparkling apple cider. The "recipe" is roughly 3 pounds apples and 1/2 cup juice (I usually 1 1/2 or double ingredients), and my method is similar to those delineated above. As for sweetening, I seldom do, preferring the natural sweetness and flavor of the apples (which I'm lucky enough to get from the farmers' market) themselves, plus that of the sparkling cider; I will occasionally add a wee bit of cinnamon and/or nutmeg just at the end, but come down on the side of pure apple taste.
Once the apples are mushy-soft, I'll go at them with a potato masher (if they're peeled) or put through a food mill. Either way, I like a chunky sauce and am careful not to over-process the fruit.
Nutmeg (freshly grated) is more important than cinnamon; use half the amount of cinnamon you think or none at all. Not too much nutmeg; the effect of spices will increase over a day.
I also microplane and then mince up lemon zest to taste.
For smooth sauce, a food mill is the most perfect device on the planet.
Here's my recipe:
Apples - however many you want
Water - however much is needed to cover the apples
2 Cinnamon sticks
6 Cardamom pods
Juice of half a lemon
1. Fill 1/3 of the pot with water. Put in the 2 cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods. Bring to a boil.
2. Once the water has boiled, simmer until the apples are ready.
3. Wash, slice and core apples.
4. Put in apple slices (fill about half the pot). Add more water if the spiced water doesn't cover the apples.
5. Bring the water to a boil then simmer, until the apples are tender.
6. Once they're tender, put the apple slices through a food mill or ricer.
7. Add the lemon juice.
8. At this point you can add any extra spices and/or sugar, but I didn't think it was necessary.
Voila! Applesauce done
Note: This applesauce will go bad quickly, as it has no sugar. Freeze any extras.
1. Melon ballers are extremely convenient in coring apples.
2. Don't remove the apple skins when boiling them. They tint the applesauce a wonderful rose color.
3. If using a ricer, watch for boiling hot water squirting from the apples!
Also, pictures via the blog:
I quarter and core the apples. (I wash with vegetable wash before cutting). Stick as many of whatever varieties I have in a saucepan, add 1/4 c. water, cover and cook about 15 minutes until mushy. Then I put through food mill, add some honey and cinnamon and (my new fave) ground cardamom.
I make mine, peel, pits and all with usually macs. I buy the bags of them when on sale and cook like Lisa13 said. Sometimes I add cinnamon stick while I'm cooking them down but once I've put through the food mill I add lemon juice, brown and white sugar, cinnamon and a bit of vanilla. I use the vanilla mainly because my grandmother always did and it reminds me of her!!
I make it in the microwave and do not need to add any water at all. Sometimes I just cut the apples up and cook skin on in the microwave and then run them through my Foley food mill. It keeps the skin and pits back and gives a smooth applesauce and the skins give the sauce a nice color.
I make mine very simply:
peel, core and slice apples. The softer varieties are pretty good for this, but any will do. I think I used "empire" or "cortland" last time?
add a bit of water to the pan you will use to prevent scorching - maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch?
add apples, cover, bring to simmer and cook until the apples are really mushy. Stir occasionally and make sure there is enough liquid to prevent burning/scorching.
once cooked you can mash them through a strainer (sad, but its what I do) or you can get a "foley food mill" and get it done alot quicker. If you use a food mill you can skip peeling the apples (though I peel them anyway if there is any chance they have some kind of spray residue on them from the farm). I have also been known to use a potato masher in a pinch (works better with soft apples that are cooked til they are falling apart).
After its mashed/sauced, taste it and see if you want to add sugar or not. If it's too thick you can add water or apple cider until you reach the right consistency. You could also add ground spices at this point to taste. Cinnamon is classic, but I have heard of adding nutmeg or allspice too.
re: Dio di Romanese
I just eat it. I know some people bake with it, or pair it with cottage cheese, but it is great to just eat from a bowl. It is not used so much as a topping sauce like bernaise or gravy (though you could probably find a use for it in that context) It is also a classic accompaniment to pork chops!