Every year there are guaranteed to be at least 3 pies at my family's Thanksgiving dinner table. One is my favorite: Dutch Apple. One is my mom's favorite: Pumpkin. The third, my brother's favorite, is pecan. Now, you don't need to tell me that having three pies for Thanksgiving is excessive, but we all know that Thanksgiving is a pie holiday. I'm not one to break tradition, so I go with the flow.
There are some things I've made recently - macaroni and cheese, baked beans, salad dressing, tomato sauce - that have made me say "Why would I ever buy this pre-packaged or store-bought ever again?" Pie is not one of those things. Since I eat it once or twice a year, I've never really attempted the whole pie/pie crust ordeal.
I'm sure it would be fun to try someday, but let's be honest, do I really need to just "bake a pie" on an idle weekend afternoon so that it can sit in the kitchen and mock me until it finally wins and I have to spend the rest of the week at the gym to atone? Just because it's not my favorite doesn't mean it wouldn't tempt me. Sorry, pie.
On the other hand, I recently saw an applesauce recipe on Simply Recipes and I've been craving some sort of apple-y goodness ever since. To quell my sweets craving, I adapted the recipe to involve a little less lemon and a little more brown sugar and OH MAN. All this needed was a big, fat scoop of vanilla ice cream and you'd have bliss in a bowl.
Brown Sugar Applesauce
3-4 lbs. Golden Delicious apples (I used 7 small ones)
1 T. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup water
3 slices of lemon peel (cut with a vegetable peeler or paring knife)
1 3" cinnamon stick
1. Place all ingredients in a large stockpot and set to a boil. Let cook, uncovered for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until apples are tender.
2. Remove from heat and discard three pieces of lemon peel and cinnamon stick. Let apple mixture cool down and puree in a food processor, blender, or mash with a potato masher. Since I have none of the above, I cleverly used a pastry cutter and mashed the apples right in the pot.
3. This can be served hot or cold. Since I made it, I've eaten it both ways and much preferred it hot.
4. To adapt the recipe, I'd use a little less white sugar next time, because I like the nutty flavor that dark brown sugar adds to the sauce. If you use a sweeter apple you could probably get away with way less white sugar also. As good as this was, it was, it definitely felt more like an indulgent dessert and in no way, shape or form the "healthy snack" that applesauce was meant to be. I'll likely try again this weekend with a different kind of apple -and maybe a little vanilla ice cream.
What's your favorite way to eat applesauce? Tart? Sweet? What kind of apples do you use?