Baked apples were my mom's favorite. At a young age, I copied her recipe onto a 3x5 card to make them myself - and I still do! In the oven, the simple brown sugar sauce takes on sweet apple flavor: utterly addictive. Less sauce would do, but then again, the apples are small -- do enjoy!
Thanks to imports and new storage techniques, apples are now available year-round.
But selection and freshness remain best in fall when local apples are just picked. For delicious homemade applesauce, try blending varieties – sweet and tart, firm and soft, for example. When apples are plentiful, make extra batches for freezing.
HOMEMADE APPLESAUCEWash and core apples. Peel if you prefer though it’s unnecessary and adds texture to the end product. The applesauce turns a very pretty pink when cooked with the skins on, see the photo below? Chop into small pieces. Place in saucepan or kettle with a bit of water over medium heat – the apples will secrete additional cooking liquid. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Add honey if additional sweetness is desired. Leave them 'au natural' or turn smooth with an immersion blender. If you like, for a little more dimension, after cooking the apples, stir in the zest and juice of a small lemon and a half teaspoon of cinnamon or ginger. A pound of apples yields about 1 cup of applesauce.
BAKED APPLES Supper a little skimpy tonight? Add hot, rich baked apples to the menu and your family will leave the table with big smiles. Try with a bit of vanilla ice cream – or a splash of cream. Delicious!
Total preparation time: 1 hour
- 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Dash cinnamon
- Dash nutmeg
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 9 small or medium apples
In a 1-1/2 quart saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and spices; stir together with a wooden spoon to remove any obvious lumps. Add water and stir. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add butter. Cook until thick, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, rub a 9x9-inch glass dish with butter. Wash and core the apples and place right side up in the dish. Pour the sauce into and over the apples.
Bake 45 minutes at 325F. Halfway through baking, remove from oven and cover the apples with hot syrup again. Return to oven to complete baking. Serve hot or cold.
Are 'dashes' of cinnamon and nutmeg enough? I felt tempted to add more when remaking this recently. But dashes are perfect, allowing the delicate apple flavor to infuse the sauce without competition.
An apple corer makes quick work of removing the cores. A utility knife and a serrated grapefruit knife are good substitutes.
Look for small apples in three-pound bags in the produce section. They're less expensive, too!
More Apple Recipes, Perfect for This Year's Crop
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