I was staying with a friend one night last week and when I arrived, she had just finished making several batches of the reddest apple sauce I’ve ever seen. There were still quite a few apples left from her back yard tree and she insisted that I take some home. I certainly wasn’t going to refuse. I wanted to make some of that apple sauce too!!
I’ve made apple sauce many times in the past. But it’s always in the fall and I never quite remember exactly what to do. All I knew for certain was that in order to get the red colour, the skin has to stay on.
So I turned to our sadly tattered copy of Joy of Cooking. Because Joy of Cooking is the book to use for basics like apple sauce. I didn’t even bother to look in our other books to see what others do (I wonder if any of them even have recipes for apple sauce! Remind me to look…)
I have only one argument with Joy of Cooking. The binding is the worst possible for a book that is to be used possibly on a daily basis. The only things holding our copy of Joy of Cooking together are the books on either side of it. I think the binding on our copy started to split about a year after I bought it. We don’t dare to replace it; we’d have to transfer all our little hand-written notes!!
Happily, the pages have stayed intact and the print is still as bright as ever. And there on page 131, in part of the cookbook that is miraculously still held to the binding, was “Apple Sauce”.
And of course, making apple sauce couldn’t be simpler.
All that’s required is to quarter the apples, stick them into a pot with a little water, bring them to a boil and simmer them until the apples are fork tender. (I cored the apples but of course, left them unpeeled.)
Then the cooked apples are supposed to go into a food mill to remove the lumps.
But we don’t have a foodmill so I improvised, using a Parmesan cheese grater and a wooden spatula. (Oh oh… there are a few tiny wood flakes in our applesauce. Afterwards, I had to sand the wooden spatula to make it smooth again….)
After the skins were removed, I put the apple puree back into the pot (as per Joy of Cooking instructions). I added a couple of small spoonfuls of sugar, a squirt of lemon juice and the barest hint of ground cloves. And I boiled the puree for 3 minutes, stirring with the wooden spatula. And that’s all there was to it!
The smell of apples cooking is so amazingly brilliant!!
As soon as it was cool enough to tast, we immediately tried it with a few slices of cheddar cheese. It was fabulous!! Not too sweet, not too tart. We could just discern the clove flavour, if we thought hard about it. It was perfect!
Later that day, we served the sauce with grilled pork chops. What could be better?
What kind of apples are growing on my friend’s tree? I’m not sure. They taste a little like McIntosh but of course are far too red to be McIntosh. They are a little too willing to break up in cooking so, while they’d taste wonderful, I don’t think they’re ideal for pie making. Fresh off the tree, they’re great for eating. Crisp, sweet, tart, juicy.
Waaahhhhh!! Can we have an apple tree in our back yard please?
And perhaps a pear tree too? And while we’re at it, let’s plant fig tree!