In the fall, when apples are in peak season, I always make a giant batch or two of applesauce and freeze it. It’s one of my favourite things to do in the kitchen with my son Gabe. Then, all winter long, we’re reminded of our favourite season.
Yield: Makes 4 cups
1 dozen or so of your favourite apples
1 cup brown sugar
1 heaping Tablespoon ground cinnamon
a dash pure vanilla extract
a dash salt
a splash water
Remove the cores from the apples, andleaving the skins oncut them into several large chunks.
Toss into a pot and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Add a splash of water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pot, and place over a medium-high heat.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid. In a few minutes the water will begin to steam, and the heat will encourage the apples to soften and release their own moisture.
There are many types of apples; each behaves differently when cooked. Some will soften and break down quickly, others will take longer. Any apple makes great applesauce, but my favourites are McIntosh and Golden Delicious.
Keep an eye on the pot and stir frequently so they don’t stick to the bottom. Cook until all the apples are softened and the mixture simmers, about 20 minutes in total.
For a rustic chunky consistency, pass the sauce through a food mill or force it through a colander with the back of a spoon. For a smoother version purée in a food processor and then pass through a strainer. In either case the skins will be left behind and should be discarded.
Many spices have an affinity for apples. Try nutmeg, allspice, cloves or cardamom. Some herbs are very tasty too. I enjoy rosemary, thyme and even bay leaf.
A traditional pesto genovese is made with loads of fresh basil, but by no means do you have to stick by tradition. This version has been jazzed up with pungent sun-dried tomatoes. Pesto means paste, and it can have infinite variations based on what inspires you. Switch up the nuts or cheese, add some herbs or spices, or zip it up with some hot sauce.