Confession: The other day I did a mental heel click when I discovered that butternut squash had made its highly anticipated return to the farmers' market. Don't get me wrong. I'd be lying if I said that I'm not sad to see summer go. But rather than lament the end of vitamin D and strawberries for 9-plus months, I have decided to embrace the Fall and all of its pumpkin-y glory.
Aside from my affinity for root vegetables and pumpkin beer, the autumnal ingredient that I am most excited to reunite with is the apple.
While one can technically eat apples any day of the year, the occasional summer supermarket Granny Smith just cannot compare to that first dribble-down-your-chin juicy, earth-shatteringly crisp bite of a freshly-picked McIntosh that makes me weak in the knees.
Needless to say, I found myself eager to sink my teeth into the season.
Thanks to a summer filled with sunshine here in New England, the apple harvest is already in full swing. And after an overzealous trip to a local orchard, I found myself lugging a 15 lb. bag of apples back to my car (That's not as bad as the time I picked 15 lbs. of strawberries...).
ANYWAYS, according to my calculations, I would have to consume an average of ~3.4 apples per day for the next 10 days if I wanted to save them from a rotten inferno. I know that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" but it's only the second week of September and I still have lots of apple pie/crisp/cider/donuts/butter left to consume. I don't want to overdose on apple quite yet.
So, after flipping through my recipe box, in hopes of finding a recipe that could put a significant dent in my bushel o' apples, I stumbled upon my cinnamon-stained recipe for...APPLESAUCE. Brilliant.
While I realize that the words "I made applesauce" don't incite quite the same excitement as "I made an apple pie," my recipe for applesauce deserves a spot in any autumnal arsenal. I'm a fan of this particular applesauce because it only contains a handful of ingredients and in contrast to the typical apple sauce recipe, this gem involves roasting, not boiling, the apples. The result? A caramelized vat of concentrated apples & spice & everything nice. Plus, it is supah dupah versatile. You can eat it on its own, use it as a low-fat substitute for oil or butter in your favorite decadent baked good, serve it alongside roasted chicken or pork, or my personal favorite, add it to a morning bowl of oatmeal. Hey, don't knock it until you try it. You could even also can put it in pretty jars and give them as gifts when the fast-approaching holidays roll around. Food gifts are always guaranteed to elicit squeals and hugs.
Warning: This recipe makes your house/apartment/tent smell like a slice of cinnamon-y heaven. Research shows that the average person will make approximately 4.6 friends for every time they combine apples and cinnamon and bake them.
*Pause for dramatic effect*
Okay, maybe that's not true, but this recipe is definitely a winner and you should go make it now.
Homemade Roasted Applesauce
6 lbs apples (12-16, depending on the size)*
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
*I used a combination of Cortland, McIntosh, and Golden Supreme, but any variety of apples, aside from Red Delicious, Fuji, or Honeycrisp, would work well.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Meanwhile, peel, core, and quarter apples. Reserve 2-3 strips of red apple peel for a later use.
3. Add the orange and lemon juices to the peeled apples
4. Add reserved apple peels. This will impart the apple sauce with a pink hue.
5. Add the cinnamon and allspice to the apple mixture. Toss to coat.
6. Cover and bake for 90 minutes or until apples are very, very tender.
7. Whisk until you achieve your desired consistency
8. Serve warm or at room temperature (or cold, straight out of the fridge at 2 A.M.). Enjoy!
Cheers to scarf weather!