Applesauce is pretty high on my list of comforting foods. My mom made a lot of applesauce when I was growing up, and it always made an appearance at holiday meals. I remember helping her peel the apples, and eventually taking over the entire process. She would often tell us about the old wives myth that if you could peel an apple in one long string you could throw it over your shoulder and it would show you the initial of the man you were going to marry. I think mine looks pretty much like a ‘J’.
This recipe comes, yet again from the Barefoot Contessa. It makes a ton of applesauce, but apples are plentiful and cheap right now, and applesauce freezes beautifully. It also made my house spell like an apple cinnamon heaven. And the citrus zest and juice really kick up the flavor and aroma of the apples.
8 granny smith apples (3 lbs)
8 sweet red apples (3 lbs) – I used Braeburm
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (or allspice)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Peel the apples and cut them in to quarters. Remove the core, and place the entire quarter in a large dutch oven. Zest and juice the oranges and lemon, and add both to the pot.
Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and toss the apples gently with your hands to distribute the seasonings.
Place the butter on top of the apple pile. You can also place the peels from two of the red apples on top while the apples cook to lend a nice rosy color to the sauce.
Cover the pot and cook in a 350 degree over to an hour and a half, or until the apples are really soft.
Discard the apple peel, and whisk the apples until smooth.
Next time I want to try making this in a crock pot. I’m pretty sure that leaving it on low for several hours would yield the same result as the oven roasting. Also, since I have a crock pot and not a dutch oven, and since I tried to use my crock pot and melted the lid handle a little, this seems like a better plan given my currently pot situation. But as you can see, other than just a tiny bit of handle melting, the crock pot is a fine substitute for a dutch oven in a pinch.