Saturday, December 20, 2008

Recipe: Apple-pear sauce

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Hanukkah is coming right up, and we're having a few families over here and there for Hanukkah dinners during the week, so of course I woke up thinking about applesauce.

The first time I made homemade applesauce I was in college. I was in one of those snooty Ivy League "secret societies" (not the snootiest of the snooty, fortunately), and every Sunday a couple of people made dinner for the group of 15 in the delapidated house's extremely outdated kitchen. The day of my first turn was a beautiful fall day, and I'd proudly used the car I'd just brought up to school to trek out to a pick-your-own farm, returning with several bushels of apples right off the trees.

I can't remember what else I made for dinner -- possibly my mom's sesame chicken? -- but I know that I spent that entire afternoon at the house peeling, coring and chopping apples. By the time everyone arrived at dinnertime you could smell it down the street. Warm applesauce with vanilla ice cream for dessert that night. I made friends.

My dad, who passed away recently, loved this recipe. I have to admit that I shed a few tears this morning as I peeled and chopped. This was the first time I'd made it since he died.

Any varieties of fruit will do, although some will give off more water than others and you may have to cook them a bit longer.

Chunky applesauce (with pears too, today)

10 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
4 large pears
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
a squeeze of lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a large pot with a splash of water so the bottom won't burn. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover, and let cook until the fruit is soft. Mash with a potato masher for a coarse consistency, or blend with an immersion blender for a smoother sauce. Serve warm or cold, for dessert, as a side with grilled meat, or, of course, with your Hanukkah latkes.

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