The Recipe: It's such a simple idea, isn't it? Just throw a few raspberries into homemade applesauce. The results? A glorious raspberry gem color and a brightness never before tasted in applesauce. Is Ina Garten a genius? I think so!
My first batch of applesauce with raspberries, I cut the recipe in half. I didn't doubt the recipe, it came from Ina Garten's new cookbook Cooking for Jeffrey. (I've made a half dozen recipes from Ina's latest cookbook: one didn't work for us but five are new staples! Remember the beautiful Celebration Salad, the one with Maple-Roasted Carrots, Arugula, Dill, Cranberry Vinaigrette, Pomegranate and Glazed Pecans?)
But surely three pounds of apples for applesauce would be plenty? WRONG.
Because pure genius, that Ina, jazzing up everyday applesauce with raspberries.
I also skipped her brown sugar and butter substituted the more unusual star anise for the commonplace cinnamon. Good calls? BOTH.
Served plain? Although "plain" understates this applesauce, because it's hardly plain. There's that beautiful garnet color, a wee leeeetle bit of citrus, that underlying hint of star anise that gets people to asking, "What's that spice?"
But plain, wow, the raspberry really comes through, somehow the apples are simultaneously more sweet and more tart. Once upon a time, I dubbed a peach, cherry and blueberry combo "Peacherry Blues". The same thing's true here, what a magical combination, apples and raspberries. Hmmm, how about rasppleberries?
Next up, parfaits with chia pudding, a layer of Roasted Applesauce with Raspberries, all topped with orange sections, blueberries and a few Maple-Glazed Pecans. Gorgeous! I thought. But I had to laugh about my almost 91-year old father's reaction.
HIM, with suspicion, stabbing the fruit: "What's this?"
ME, invoking a familiar and favorite dessert: "It's sort of like tapioca pudding."
He kept stabbing, eating the applesauce and fruit, leaving the chia pudding behind. Heaven help me, feeding a picky eater who prides himself with never complaining.
But you? Off you go! Applesauce with raspberries it is! Chia pudding not required.
ROASTED APPLESAUCE with RASPBERRIES
Time to table: 2 hours
Makes 4-1/2 cups
(a double batch is recommended!)
- Zest and juice of 1 large orange
- Zest and juice (about 2 tablespoons) of 1 lemon
- 6 ounces frozen raspberries
- 1-1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut small
- 1-1/2 pounds another apple, peeled and chopped roughly
- Sprinkle star anise (or cinnamon or ginger or nutmeg)
- 1 tablespoon butter, cut into tiny bits
Set oven to 350F/180C.
In a large bowl, combine citrus zests and juices and raspberries, stirring gently to combine and distribute, helping the berries to begin thawing. Stir in the apple pieces as they're prepped, this prevents them from oxidizing and turning brown. Stir in the star anise, then transfer to a ceramic baking dish. Dot the top with bits of butter.
Bake for 75 minutes, checking and stirring every 15 minutes. The Granny Smith pieces will be soft but intact, the other apples should be very soft and ready to fall apart; visually they'll appear firm, test one piece with the back of a spoon to make sure it's soft enough.
Remove from oven and transfer back to the large bowl. With a wire whisk, whisk vigorously until the apple pieces disintegrate, stop when you like the texture.
Transfer to covered containers and refrigerate until ready to serve.
MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Make up to a week ahead of time but do know, you might have to make another batch, this one has a habit of disappearing one spoonful at a time!
VARIATIONS Ina's recipe also includes 1/4 cup brown sugar, another tablespoon of butter and a full teaspoon of spice. Yeah, it could be awesome.
ALANNA's TIPS The Granny Smith apples hold up in the heat and don't break down during whisking, so these are the apples that provide the most apple-y texture that's so nice here. But you wouldn't want to use all Granny Smith, they're too tart and too firm. For the second apple, I used Galas, these whisked beautifully into an pink, airy sauce. I'd also use Jonathans, Empires, Golden Delicious (but not Red Delicious) and almost any other apple. I was so surprised that a big whisk could turn a dishful of apples into applesauce, hardly any "elbow grease" required. But hmm, I'm thinking that next time, I'll skip peeling the apples, then run the roasted apples through the food processor. That'd be amazing! Does anyone else find peeling apples totally time-consuming and tedious?! Once I even invested in one of those mechanical apple peelers: not worth the money or space. [Update: Grrrr, I had such high hopes for skipping the apple-peeling step! But sorry, the skin pieces burn in the oven and if as if that weren't enough, that rough apple-skin texture just doesn't work here, even after a long whizz in the food processor.]
Raspberries = February's Favorite Fruit
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