For me, receiving fruit in a CSA basket is the equivalent of getting a king size candy bar during trick-or-treat at age 10: so special. That's why when organic apples appeared in our veggie box two weeks in a row, I hoarded them away like a greedy squirrel and started searching for a recipe to honor these rosy, perfectly imperfect gems.
The farmer's newsletter said he wasn't sure what variety these apples were, but that they were organic and therefore slightly blemished, but mighty tasty. A mystery apple! Joy! Their flavor was tart but not pucker-inducing, the flesh was firm and robustly textured, they were generously juicy, and perfect for making applesauce.
This recipe hails from the infamous Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers. I borrowed it from the library after seeing several of my favorite cooks and bloggers site it as one of their must-haves. So far it hasn't disappointed. This applesauce is nothing like the kind that comes in a jar at the supermarket. It is at once chunky and silky, and absolutely sings with apple flavor. My mouth is watering as I write this and so are my eyes because my apples and the sauce I made from them are long gone. I ate it plain, also in oatmeal and swirled with plain yogurt and cinnamon. I loved every bite. If you have any apples hanging around, you betta' make this applesauce toot sweet.
Recipe note: If you don't have 4 pounds of apples, scale the recipe back and adjust ingredients accordingly. It's still worth it to make a small batch. The sugar is pretty minimal, letting the apples' flavor shine and making it a versatile sauce for serving with anything from ice cream to pork chops.
Rustic Roasted Applesauce
adapted slightly from the Zuni Café Cookbook
makes about 3 cups
- 4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
- Up to 1 Tbsp of sugar, depending on the sweetness of you apples
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place the apple chunks in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and sprinkle with sugar and salt, toss to coat.
- Shave butter into thin slices and "drape" over the apples (cookbook wording, beautiful).
- Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake until the apples begin to soften slightly, 15-20 minutes. Remove apples from the oven and carefully uncover the pan.
- Raise the heat to 500 F and return apples to the oven. Roast until the apples begin to turn golden brown on their edges, about 10 minutes.
- Let the apples cool slightly, then slide them into a bowl and mash them with the back of a wooden spoon until you have smooth, yet chunky sauce, Taste the sauce and season with more salt and sugar to your taste.
- Add the apple cider vinegar to brighten the flavor if desired. (Judy Rodger's advice: try a drop of cider vinegar on a spoonful of the applesauce first to see if you'll like it.)
- Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.