I used to hate applesauce. The thought of that cloyingly sweet mushy stuff in plastic containers just didn’t give me any kinds of warm fuzzy childhood memories. To me, it was the stuff of baby food, and certainly not a go-to snack, even when I was pretending to be on a diet.
But this weekend as I took another look at the brown paper bag full of apples just aging away on my kitchen counter, I realized I had to do something, and I didn’t want to spend a long time doing anything.
And all of a sudden, applesauce sounded pretty good. You can freeze it, use it to make cakes, put it on some pork chops, whatever. It’s easy, and its really hard to mess up.
And a couple months back, my views on cooked fruit took a positive turn after I was treated to a pear poached in wine with a little side of fluffy, sweet cream sauce. And there lies the inspiration for making an applesauce that turned out to be a little less sweet, a little more fancy and a lot more adult.
The basics of applesauce are this: sugar, a little water and some apples. Thousands of recipes exist out there, from adding spices like cinnamon or vanilla to roasting the apples in a pan and replacing the water with a variety of liquids including apple cider and citrus juices.
I figured if you can poach a pear in white wine, you can surely simmer apples in it. And heck, why stop at wine? Let’s go for liquor! And why stick with a standard cinnamon to give it umph? Let’s get fancy with the spices and throw in another warm dessert spice like cardamom.
Here’s the resulting recipe:
Apple-Cardamom Applesauce in Wine
2 pounds tart
apples (I used about 8 Jonathans, but a mix of Granny Smiths and
others would probably turn out just as well or
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
2 Tbs apple brandy
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cardamom
Peel and core apples and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Dissolve sugar in wine and brandy over medium heat. Stir in
lemon juice and cardamom, then add apples. Stir well and heat to a
boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes until apples have
reached your desired mushiness.
Using a ricer or potato masher, smash down remaining apples to desired consistency.
I ended up just eating the applesauce plain and warm with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Who knew? Turns out I can like applesauce after all.