So quintessentially Autumn.
It’s fun to make in September and October, when the stores start carrying dozens of varieties and orchards offer to let you pick your own.
It’s perfect in November, as a Thanksgiving side or light dessert option.
And in December? What on earth would potato latkes be without applesauce? (Potato latkes are a perfect winter brunch, BTW. Try them the day after Thanksgiving.)
This is the second recipe I’m sharing from Tal Ronnen’s amazing new book, Crossroads. (Artisan Books graciously gave me permission to share.)
It’s actually part one of a two part recipe – Sweet Potato Latkes with Spiked Applesauce. I’m breaking it down into two recipes, though, because you just may want to make this applesauce separately – or make it a day ahead.
This Spiked Applesauce is one of the easier recipes from the book, but it has the usual Tal trademarks – super-detailed instruction and a twist (in this case, brandy) that elevates the recipe to something special.
Ingredients for Spiked Applesauce (Makes 2 Cups)
3 Gala or Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, or to taste
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons brandy or unfiltered apple juice
Directions for Spiked Applesauce
Cooking sweet and tart apples, cinnamon, a touch of sugar, and a nip of brandy embodies the perfect smell of all. You can spoon this applesauce over vanilla or caramel ice cream too. Any leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Put the apples in a Dutch oven or other large pot set over medium heat and add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally to mash up the apples, until the apples release their juices and completely break down, 20 to 25 minutes. If the apples seem dry, add a few tablespoons of filtered water and continue to cook until tender. Taste the applesauce for sweetness; it should be tart-sweet, but if you want it sweeter, add more sugar.
Stir in the brandy (or apple juice) and simmer for a few more minutes to cook off the alcohol. Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon sticks.
Mash the apples with a potato masher or puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.