10 December 2010

Baked Applesauce

Nothing makes me happier than cooking something for someone who really loves that particular food. This weekend I get to make the quintessential autumn dinner for a friend who has been waiting all year for it! We'll have my special braised pork (my own invention) with its rich sauce, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, a crisp and cool autumn salad and this baked applesauce. (My friend's husband has a real craving for eggnog, so I've decided to make a batch of eggnog for dessert.)

Apparently baked applesauce has been around for years--how did I miss that issue of Bon App├Ętit?--but I didn't give it a thought until I happened onto the wonderful blog
Circle B Kitchen. I really like the level of sugar and spices in my own applesauce recipe, so I stayed with that and used my own variation on the baking method Patrice described.

I don't know that it's any "easier" than cooking it on the stovetop, but you don't have to peel and chop then check on it and stir it; you just stick it in the oven and don't give it another thought for 45 minutes. Have you tried it? How do you make applesauce? What is your favorite apple for sauce? I used organic Galas for this batch and left it a bit chunky.
Baked Applesauce
(Makes about 5 cups, 6 to 10 servings)

12 medium apples (about 6 pounds), halved and cored
1/2 cup water
1 or 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 18x13x1-inch half-sheet pan*
with cooking spray. Place the apple halves cut side down on baking sheet and add water to pan.

2 Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, until the apples are wrinkly and falling-apart soft. Remove from oven, and leave the apples in the pan. I didn't want to wait till the apples were cool enough to handle, so I just used a dinner fork and soup spoon and mashed each apple half in its place in the baking sheet.

3 Leaving apple halves skin-side up, mash them completely down with fork (one at a time). All the soft apple will squeeze out and you'll be left with a clean piece of peel to discard. Sprinkle the mashed apples with lemon juice.

4 In small bowl, whisk together sugar, spices and salt. Sprinkle the warm apples with sugar mixture. Keep stirring until all sugar is dissolved. If too dry, add a little water one tablespoon at a time.

5 Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

The following are good sauce apples: Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Empire, Rome, Macoun, Pink Lady, Jonathon, Jonagold, Gala.

*If you don't have one of these Sheet Pan Half Size - 12-7/8'' x 17-3/4'' Heavy Duty, 13 Gauge, you need to get one right away!


Colette said...

Ohhh that looks so good. I've never made my own applesauce before. I'm going to have to try this!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Colette. I hope you will try it. It's so easy and so good. And the apples didn't even stick to the pan at all. Clean-up was a breeze.

Sully said...

Think I would like this with raisins in it, or maybe some kind of oatmeal crunch, granola, etc. Bet it would go good with oatmeal cookies as a kind of chaser.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, good ideas! I definitely like it with granola, so I'm sure it would be a great chaser with oatmeal cookies. It's perfect with pork.

Unknown said...

I just found your wonderful blog, and have signed up to follow it. I can't wait to read all of your creative posts!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Linda! I post only on Friday morning, with the rare exception. Just stirred up another batch of eggnog--I posted my recipe last Friday--and am taking a tea break.

Cranberry Morning said...

What an interesting twist on applesauce! You reminded me that I have many jars of applesauce from our McIntosh tree (my favorite apple!) that I need to be using.

I could not believe that I wasn't already a follower...but I am now. I thought of you yesterday as I took a pic of Lionel and Tuppence, snuggling up against the cold. :-)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Judy! Better late than never! Love that photo. I'm going to use it somehow on my blog with a link back to yours (if that's okay with you?).

Unknown said...

I love this idea! I have not actually made my own applesauce, though I keep threatening to do it! This looks wonderful Jean!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

You're going to love it. Once you've made your own applesauce, you won't be happy with store-bought. But that's okay because homemade is so easy.

Kim Lutz said...

Jean, I love the idea of getting the applesauce going without having to peel all of the apples. I'm going to try this tomorrow! Thanks for the idea and the great pictures.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kim! That's exactly it--sometimes you just want to "get something going" without a lot of fuss and bother.

Swedish Mike said...

This looks ace. I'm used to just slowly let it boil down in a pan with some additions.

Doing it this way looks like it will add some extra dimensions of flavour.

I'm going to have to give this a go next time. Many thanks for the inspiration!

// Mike

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Mike, thank you! I think you'll really like it. Besides the ease of preparation, it really does, as you say, add some extra dimensions of flavour. And that is always my main consideration! Can you make a sauce with Cox's Orange Pippins? Years ago in England I had some juice from that apple, and it was the most flavourful apple juice I've ever had. Don't see it here.

Swedish Mike said...


I'd give it a go with the Cox's Orange Pippins but might mix them up a bit to get a more round flavour.

Yesterdays apple sauce was made with Granny Smiths' - that was what was at home and I couldn't be bothered to go and get some coooking apples. Worked just fine.

// Mike

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

I usually use two varieties, don't like to mix too many, but sometimes a single variety needs a "little something" from another, doesn't it?

Carlee said...

What an interesting way to make applesauce. It does sound better than peeling them all!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Carlee, thank you. I do hope you'll try it. It's really so much easier *and* better than peeling and boiling.