November 15, 2013

I take my applesauce seriously

I don't know how about you guys, but I was raised with the applesauce that is rustic and chunky, never too sweet and with loads of cinnamon evaporating from the jar. It's like the dessert on its own you can just spoon right from the jar not being bothered to incorporate it into something else. Well, the only thing it might need is a little bit of fresh curd cheese to land on, or a nice slice of toasted bread. I like mine rye, for example.

These days, my well beloved combination consists of homemade applesauce and (preferable homemade) peanut butter where indulgently rich and creamy butter is beautifully counterbalanced by the light and fruity mash. However, back when I was young and inexperienced, this kind of pairing was never a part of the plan. To be honest, my taste buds started accepting the peanut butter only when I was residing in United States (which was not too long ago), so before that, in those peanut-butter-less days, I had to take an advantage of anything I could find on hand if I thought that my applesauce moment needed an extra guest. That could be a few dollops of cream cheese, yogurt, fresh curd, a bowl of oatmeal or a generous scoop of ice cream. And I already told you about the toast: one spoonful on a still warm bread, two spoonfuls into a mouth - that's how the story went.

Newsham Park, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Till this day, I take my applesauce very seriously. Simply because there could be nothing more pleasant than that silky chunk of an apple melting in a mouth. It's like eating the apple pie and not missing the crust. However, supermarkets these days tend to sell only that sloppy mash that, if it was up to me, would never qualify as a decent applesauce. It also means that, once the autumn steps in, it usually is not allowed to slip through my fingers without leaving behind at least a small batch of perfectly textured and flavored apple dainty.

Newsham Park, Liverpool, United Kingdom

However, this year, being all on a move, I didn't have time to put my hands on any kind of canning and preserving activities. In that case, it's always good to have mum who makes sure you are well equipped with your most beloved foods, even though it means shipping them a few thousand kilometers. But there is still something peculiar about that warm fruity slop you spoon right from the hot jar just before twisting the lid.

Therefore, roasted applesauce is good when there is no time to get into an affair with the stove-top and heavy saucepan. The only thing you need to do here is just pop your fruits and spices into the oven, wait until they are tender enough to mash, blend until the right consistency, ladle into the jar, seal it up and wait until it's cool enough to take place in a fridge. In the meantime, eat what did not fit (or you simply did not want it to fit) into a jar. And that's pretty much it. As simple as that, especially if you have someone who could give you a hand to peal, core and dice those apples.

And when it comes to taste, roasted applesauce is slightly more exceptional than the regular one as the heat of the oven concentrates the overall flavor and gives that nice caramel-y tone. You can add a splash of apple cider or apple cider vinegar to sharpen the flavors just like you do when you are caramelizing the onions. Herbs - feel free to use any of them, but personally to me, sage or thyme works the best. On top of that, don't be afraid to play around with some additional ingredients, such as crystallized ginger, candied orange or fresh orange zest, raisins, dates, dried apricots, pears, mashed bananas - the choice is well beyond boundless.

Roasted Applesauce with Sage

Roasted Applesauce with Sage

makes approximately 500 ml (17 oz):
5 medium apples
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
handful of fresh sage, depends on how intense you want the sage flavor

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) temperature.
Peal, core and dice the apples. Mix with lemon juice, sugar, spices, and sage.
Spread the mixture evenly on the baking dish, and bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, until apples are mushy.
For a chunky applesauce, reach for a fork or potato masher, and mash to the desired consistency. For smooth applesauce, using the blender purée the apples until you reach that smooth mash.
Pour the applesauce into the jar, seal it and let it cool. Then store in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
You can also freeze your applesauce. In that case, let it defrost at room temperature before using. Once opened, store in a fridge.
Roasted Applesauce with Sage

Another apple and sage combination:

2 comments:

  1. O nuotraukų gražumas! Išduok paslaptį - kaip fotografuoji - dar šviesu pas jus ar turi kokią super lempą ar čia geras objektyvas "kaltas"? :)

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    1. Oj, dėkui, Indre! Tiesą pasakius, pati tai nelabai buvau patenkina šiom nuotraukom, bet jei jau sakai, kad geros... :)
      Žinok, nenaudoju nieko apart paprasto 18-55 mm objektyvo ir šviesos, sklindančios pro langą. Nelabai jau čia pas mus šviesu, bet pasitaiko ir gerų dienų, tai va bandau jas sugaudyti fotografavimui... nors ne visada pavyksta, arba per tą valandą, kol fotografuoju spėja ir apsiniaukti, pragiedrėti, vėl apsiniaukti, nulyti, vėl pragiedrėti... taip taip ir žongliruoju tuomet :))

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