For some reason, every time I make this, everyone who tries it asks how I make it. It’s about the simplest recipe I can imagine.
- Apples – note that different varieties melt at different rates, resulting in a nice chunky applesauce. Macintosh, delicious, and other sweet apples will provide the sauce to support delicious chunks of stockier varieties like granny smith.
- Cinnamon sticks
- Other whole spices, like cloves, if desired
- Roughly peel and slice the apples. A little extra skin won’t hurt, although seeds will. The slice size isn’t important.
- Fill a stockpot with the apples, and add enough water to rise about 1/2” in the bottom of the pan. Add two or three cinnamon sticks.
- Pick out the cinnamon sticks and any other spices. If the sauce is too chunky for you, it can be pureed in a blender or food processor, or run through a food mill. But if you like smooth applesauce, just go out and buy a jar of the machine-processed stuff, geez.
Once the apples start melting, they will release enough fluid to keep anything from burning. The addition of water is just to bootstrap the process, melting the apples on the bottom without burning them.
Applesauce can substitute for butter in recipes where the butter acts as a moisturizer (e.g., muffin-method recipies). It will ‘‘not’’ work in biscuit-method recipes (flaky doughs, where the solid fat isolates thin layers of dough from one another, then melts away in the oven).