Most applesauce recipes call for cooking the apples on the stovetop from start to finish. But I prefer to start them on the stovetop and then finish them in a hot oven. The heat of the oven concentrates the apples’ flavor by drying and caramelizing them slightly. Although I’ve suggested a couple of apple varieties, you can use whichever cooking apples are in season where you live. Applesauce is so simple to make, it seems silly to even think of buying it. And the great thing about making your own is that you can flavor it in interesting ways.–Michael Chiarello
LC Applesauce Aplenty Note
We concur with all of Chiarello’s above assertions about applesauce, including that last one about there being countless ways to fancy it up. Although of course there’s nothing wrong with spooning up this artisanal applesauce as-is. Nothing wrong at all. (We’ve actually had quite a few batches disappear before they even made it to the fridge like that.) But just in case you feel like playing loose and fancy free with this recipe, here are just a few suggestions, both expected and not-so-expected…
• Slip in an equal amount of agave nectar, maple syrup, or brown sugar in place of the honey.
• Add a splash of apple cider before roasting.
• Stir in 1/4 teaspoon ground spice, whether cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, or a combination.
• Toss in a handful of finely chopped crystallized ginger.
• Strew some finely chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, over the apples.
• Go crazy and stir in some mashed banana or mashed berries, whether fresh or frozen.
Roasted Applesauce Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 45 M
- Serves 8
- 12 (4 to 5 pounds) apples, preferably Gravenstein or McIntosh
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
- 1. Preheat the oven to 425° F (218°C).
- 2. Peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Remove the core and cut the apples into 1-inch chunks. As each apple is ready, place it in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
- 3. Melt the butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to brown, add the apples and salt and sauté just until the edges begin to color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the honey, stir well, and transfer to the oven. Roast until the apples are soft and lightly caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes. (For a less robust, more traditional applesauce flavor, cover the skillet prior to roasting.)
- 4. For chunky applesauce, reach for a fork, potato masher, or pastry blender and mash to the desired consistency.
For smooth applesauce, transfer the apple mixture to a food processor and purée. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold. (The applesauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Nov 30, 2010
Caramelized apples as applesauce? Oh, my. I halved the recipe, as I wanted to ensure all the apples fit into my cast iron skillet, and it worked perfectly. You just throw the apples and other ingredients into the skillet, saute and toss (OK, carefully place) into the oven. Voila — half an hour later, perfectly caramelized, tender juicy apples emerge. Then all that remains is mashing them with a fork (or pureeing them, but I chose to leave mine chunky). The suggestions to further enhance the applesauce are exciting. I added minced rosemary and a splash of lemon juice, and I used fleur de sel to sprinkle on top. Excellent with pork. I really want to try this with other options such as lemon thyme, mint, apple cider vinegar and crystallized ginger (as mentioned above in the recipe). This recipe does need a touch of acidity in addition to the lemon juice initially squeezed on the apples, but that is easy to do and likely just a matter of taste.
Roasted Applesauce Recipe © 2005 Michael Chiarello. Photo © 2008 elana's pantry. All rights reserved.