THE EASIEST APPLE SAUCE
I came home one day earlier in September to a small bag left on my doorstep filled with apples grown by our neighbor. They were imperfect produce, with some brown spots, odd shapes and thick cores, but perfect for making apple sauce. Well, true confession, they made a really good apple sauce that I then turned into a really good apple cake with caramel sauce (!!) that I would gently encourage you to make if you need something to celebrate fall and are not afraid of sugar.
Turns out I really like apple cake, probably because I'm not a huge fan of apple pie (I know, I know) but apple desserts are some of my favorites. I've actually written about two other apple cakes (Sunken Honey and Apple Cake and a Fall Apple Cake) before and highly recommend them both.
The really amazing thing about this applesauce recipe, that comes from Zuni Cafe here in San Francisco, is that after peeling and coring the apples you just roast them. In their own juices. And that's it! It's so easy - no stovetop watching or food mills. Just an oven proof pan, a bit of butter, and a little time. And the smells this brought to my kitchen was an added bonus!
Roasted Apple Sauce
From the Zuni Cafe Cookbook and Kristen Miglore's Genius Recipes via orangette.net
- 3 ½ to 4 pounds apples (Rodgers uses crisp eating apples, like Braeburns, Pippins, or Galas; Pink Ladies also work)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 to 2 tsp. sugar, or to taste (my apples were sweet enough for me so I didn't add any)
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into slivers
- A splash of apple cider vinegar, optional
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees while you prep your apples.
Peel and core each apple, removing major imperfections if needed. Cut apples into quarters and lay in a pyrex or other baking sheet in one layer. You want this layer to be crowded so the apples will kind of steam together, but not too crowded that they wont brown properly.
Toss the apples with a pinch of salt, and sugar if using. Taste the apples before putting them in the pan and decide if you think the sugar is necessary or how much you want to add. Add the butter in little bits over the apples, cover tightly with foil and put in the oven. Check the apples after 15 minutes to see if they have softened - they may take up to 30 minutes. Once you can easily pierce with a fork, remove the foil and crank up the heat to 500 degrees. At this point there will be some liquid in the pan from the apples and taking the foil off will help dry them out and give them some color.
Once the tips of the apples are golden brown and the pieces are soft, pull from the oven. Mash with the back of your fork and taste for seasoning. Add sugar, salt or apple cider vinegar if you need it.