Using cider rather than water to cook the apples intensifies the sauce’s fruitiness. I like red-skinned apples for rosy color. This recipe has no spices, but you could add nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, clove, coriander seeds, ginger, etc., as you wish. Ground spices are easy, a little at a time to avoid over-spicing; or put whole spices in a tea ball you can fish out before serving. You could also stir in a little unsalted butter to melt in the heat and add silky richness.
Makes about 4 cups.
3 pounds tart red-skinned apples
¾ cup fresh cider
Approximately ⅓ cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of the
apples and your taste
Pare the apples, saving the peels. Quarter the apples, discarding the stems and cores, and coarsely chop the flesh. Put the flesh and pared skins in a pot with the cider. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer until the fruit turns soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let it cool with the parings in the liquid at the bottom, if possible.When cool, discard the peels and mash the fruit with a slotted spoon, leaving some texture. If you like a very smooth purée, press the apples through a coarse sieve with the back of a spoon. If the sauce seems too loose, simmer gently to reduce it. At the end, stir in sugar gradually to avoid over-sweetening: It will dissolve on its own and you can add more.
Covered and chilled, the applesauce keeps well for a week or more.
Serve at room temperature or slightly warm.
Recipe by Elizabeth Gawthrop Riely