Well, now it’s really fall. In fact, with snow in the forecast, some might say fall is over and gone. Luckily there are still some wonderful apples in the markets, and on Saturday while shopping at New Seasons I had a taste of a phenomenal ripe pear.
The other day it was the apples that inspired me, though. My mother used to make applesauce every fall and the bowl full of heirloom apples on the counter was too good to resist.
Applesauce is an uncomplicated dish, but before I got started I thought I’d look around for some inspiration. The Gourmet Cookbook had just the thing — a simple recipe with a touch of calvados (brandy made from cider quality apples). I just happened to have a bottle of Clear Creek Apple Brandy on the shelf, too.
(loosely adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)
1 pound assorted firm and flavorful heirloom apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons apple brandy
Combine apples, orange juice, sugar, zest and cinnamon in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove lid and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5-10 minutes. Add the apple brandy and simmer for about one minute more. Remove from heat and mash with a fork or a potato masher until it is a chunky sauce. Cool (the juices will thicken as the sauce cools).
Makes about 1½ cups. Can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Of course, I had to make a few changes to the original recipe — I used fresh-squeezed orange juice and orange zest in place of water and lemon zest, and substituted brown sugar for the white granulated sugar. I think it turned out perfectly, let me know what you think.