I’ve been on an applesauce kick lately. Making it (and, of course, eating it) is one of my simple pleasures. Plus, I love how it makes my kitchen smell. I’m basking in the scent of baked apples, cinnamon, and cardamon right now. Yum!
Stovetop applesauce is ridiculously easy and ridiculously quick to make. Since discovering those two facts, and also realizing I can choose what kind of apples to use and that I can control how much sugar (if any) and the mix of spices I add, I haven’t bought applesauce at the store. Prep time varies depending on your equipment. I broke my apple slicer and haven’t replaced it yet, so my prep time (about 25 minutes) was on the long end.
4-6 medium sized apples (or 3-4 pounds)
You really can’t go wrong with ginger and apples.
3-4 strips of candied ginger or (for no added sugar) 3-4 thin slices of fresh ginger
1/2 cup dry Riesling
1/2 cup water (you can omit the Riesling and use 1 cup water instead)
A splash of lemon juice
A punch of salt
Spices to taste (I use cinnamon and cardamon and start with about 1/4 of a teaspoon, taste as the sauce cooks and add more as needed)
- Peel and core the apples and cut into 1/2 inch to 1 inch chunks
- Cut the ginger into tiny cubes (as small as you can make them)
- Mix wine, water, lemon juice, and salt
- Put apples and ginger into saucepan and add the liquid
- Sprinkle spices on top
- Heat until the liquid boils
- Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the apples from cooking to the bottom of the pan and to break up the chunks. If needed, add additional water.
- The apples should break up during cooking, and stirring should be enough to make the sauce saucy, but if you like super smooth applesauce, let the sauce cool and then run through a blender.
This recipe makes about 5 cups. This time around, I got 5 and a hair (for definitions of “a hair” ranging between a third and half of a cup; I may have eaten it without measuring). My plans for this batch of sauce is to take it into work for my afternoon snack so I don’t raid one of the many candy dishes in the office for a sweet pick-me-up.
This is much better than a mini candy bar! (Right? Right.)
I always enjoy baked apples when I have them, but I rarely make them at home. That needs to change. They’re a quick and tasty dessert, and maybe it’s because I don’t make them too often, but they feel like a treat.
Baked apples with honey walnut ricotta fresh out of the oven.
And now they really feel like a treat. Over the weekend, I made some ricotta cheese, and then promptly made baked apples with a honey walnut ricotta filling. And once they came out of the oven, I promptly ate one. It was delicious, so let me share them with you!
- 4 medium to largish baking apples.
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup (uncrushed) walnuts
- 2-4 tablespoons honey
- Approximately 1 cup boiling water
Apples + ricotta + walnuts + honey + oven magic = YUM!
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Wash and dry the apples. Use an apple corer or a paring knife to cut out the cores. Leave the bottom part (about 1/2 inch) of the apple intact. Scoop out the seeds and widen the filling hole to 1/2 to 1 inch depending on the size of your apples.
- Place the walnuts in a plastic bag and crush them a bit until they’re medium-sized chunks of walnuty goodness.
- In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, walnuts, and honey. I ended up using 2 tablespoons of pumpkin honey and 1 tablespoon of buckwheat honey. The buckwheat honey is dark and tastes a little like molasses, so I thought it would go well with the walnuts, but it is strong, so I wanted a gentler honey to offset it.
- Fill each apple with the honey walnut ricotta and place in a baking dish. If there’s an extra spoonful of the filling, well, it would be horrible to let it go to waste. Horrible. Eat and enjoy and promise (with your fingers crossed behind your back) to either buy bigger apples or widen the filling holes next time.
- Add the boiling water to the baking dish and 350°F for 35-45 minutes, or until the apples are tender.
Enjoy with a glass of Riesling or a scoop of ice cream (or both)!