Is it just me, or has it been particularly miserable outside lately? Rainy, grey days are usually my favourite, as I love curling up with a tea and a good book, but enough is enough! It’s gross and damp outside and I just end up feeling cold and sleepy by four o’clock every afternoon. That being said, I’m not sure I’m quite ready for spring, so I’ve been quite nostalgic for autumn. I love when the air is cool, the spices are warm, and everything seems bright and crisp.
With this in mind, I decided to capture that feeling in a batch of homemade applesauce. Is there anything quite so reminiscent of fall as apples? Perhaps pumpkins, but I consumed so much pumpkin spice paraphernalia this year, that I’m still not quite ready for more.
If you’ve never made homemade applesauce before, I really do feel quite sorry for you. It is the easiest thing in the world, requires the barest handful of ingredients, and tastes infinitely better than anything you could ever buy in a store. If I’m feeling really lazy, I’ll make it using three ingredients, and one of them is water (side note, does it bother you when recipes don’t include water in their number of ingredients? I’ve seen this done quite a lot lately, and it bugs me). It can be served hot or cold, on its own or as an amazing topping for waffles, pancakes, or ice cream, and beginning to end will take you maybe half an hour, depending on how much you want.
This may also have been the hardest recipe for me to write down, as I don’t know that I’ve ever actually followed an exact recipe when making it. Usually, I just toss in whatever I have on hand and eyeball the measurements, and to be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure that what I’ve written down for you here is that accurate. The best advice I can give is to experiment and taste often as it cooks, adjusting as needed.
- About 4-6 red-skinned apples of your choice (I prefer Empire, but that’s just a preference thing)
- 1/2 to 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or just use some nutmeg. If you want to be really fancy, get the whole nutmeg and grate it yourself)
- 1/2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- Peel the apples and chop into a large dice. Don’t worry about getting the pieces too small, they will break down in the water. Also don’t leave too big, or it will take much longer to cook.
- Put the apples in a small-medium saucepan (whatever they fit into comfortably) and don’t quite cover with water. The top layer of apples should be sitting half out of the water. It’s better to have a bit less than you need and have to add more later than to add too much water now.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg over the whole mess and stir until the water looks nice and cloudy. Stir in the grated ginger too.
- Cook over a low simmer for about 20 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally. Taste a few times and adjust seasoning if need be (I’m sorry again that my measurements are such guesstimates)
- When the apple pieces start to soften (and you can test this by squishing them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon), you can either keep stirring it on and off and the apples will break down on their own, or you can smush them against the side of the pot until it takes on the consistency that you want. If you want it chunkier, leave some pieces more or less whole, but if you want it more smooth, an immersion blender would also do the trick. Just don’t completely puree it, or it could be a bit too liquid-y.
- Enjoy hot as is, or store in the fridge and eat ice cold. Perfect either way.