Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Raspberry Applesauce

This is a real recipe, not a pantry raid, not a garbage recipe. I'd picked up apples at the Farmers' Market - Macs to cook & Honeycrisp for my workday lunches - and we had 2 pints of raspberries, the last of the season. The raspberries were heading past their prime, and we needed to use them up.

It's a great problem to face, to have fresh fruit that must be used up ASAP! I turned to my stash of cookbooks and found this raspberry applesauce in Food to Live By: the Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook.

4 medium sized sweet-tart apples (I used MacIntosh), peeled and diced
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (mine were fresh and getting softer by the minute)
1/2 cup sugar or more to taste (we found 1/2 cup to be just right)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
...and (you guessed it, I never perform exactly by the script) I added 1 teaspoon frozen orange zest just because I still had some in the freezer.

1. Place the apples and 1 1/2 cup water in a large, non-reactive saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the apples are soft, about 15 minutes.
2. Add the raspberries and sugar (and orange zest, if you live in my kitchen) and cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are soft, about 5 minutes. Break up any remaining chunks of apple with the back of a wooden spoon. The applesauce should be thick.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the sauce to cool slightly. Add the lemon juice. Taste the applesauce and add more sugar if necessary. If you are not planning to serve it immediately, transfer to a clean container and cover it. Serve warm, room temperature, or cool.

I realize there are a few potentially confusing redundancies in the directions. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to a simmer? I brought the apples to a light boil and then immediately turned the heat down to a simmer.
We also have the "simmer until apples are soft" followed by a second "cook...until the apples are soft." Use your own judgement, of course. I considered the first step done when I could pull out the peelings, the second when the chunks were almost gone.

I did not peel my apples immediately, either; I cored and quartered them before cooking, then pulled out the peelings with a fork. (Hint, hint family, a food mill is on my wish list for Christmas or birthday! It would make chores like this easier. I might even share the resulting goodies.)

This sauce is delicious. Even with end-of-season raspberries, it beats the heck out of any store-bought flavored applesauce. I predict this applesauce will become a regular on our table every August and September.

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