Do you wish you could take a basic cooking class? Do you find yourself buying lots of pre-made ingredients, but suspect your food would taste even better from scratch? Periodically, Champagne Tastes will be featuring ‘Cooking 101’ recipes. These cooking staples will take your food to the next level, and will help you make more ingredients from scratch.
I’m a little obsessed with apples right now. Honeycrisp apples may be my favorite fruit on the planet… and most of they year they are just ridiculously expensive or not available. For a few magical months in the fall, however, they show up at Aldi’s for $2-$4 a bag.. that’s right.. per BAG not apple (as the season goes on, the price goes up). I celebrate during those months by making all the apple-related food I can. Also, I eat tons of apples. Normally, I’m not a huge apple fan, but I could sit and eat 2-3 Honeycrisps in a row. Sunday I walked out of Aldi with 4, yes that’s right 4, bags of Honeycrisp apples. I fully intend to buy more next week.
One of my favorite things to make with Honeycrisps is homemade applesauce. I know, I know.. applesauce doesn’t sound incredibly exciting, but trust me, with good apples, it’s fantastic. The first time I made applesauce, I was amazed at how simple it was! The apple chunks just have to be cooked down long enough so that they start to dissolve. You’ve eaten applesauce before, and you know it’s normally served cold. Every time I make this though, I end up eating half of it while it’s hot. It’s just so delicious! I season my applesauce with cardamom and star anise, but of course you can use cinnamon instead if you prefer.
A note on the apples: I’ve been gushing over Honeycrisps, but this can be made with other apples, as long as they’re flavorful. The quality of your applesauce really depends on what apples you use. The more flavor in your apples, the more flavor in your applesauce. If you don’t have Honeycrisps, you could try using Jonagolds, Fujis, Granny Smiths, or even a mixture of all those apples with slightly less flavorful apples mixed in. I’ve made very good applesauce with a mixture of Honeycrisp and Gala. This is also helpful when you realize too late that you ate most of your tastiest apples before you start cooking.
Love fruit? Want more fruity goodness? Try these:
Homemade Applesauce with Cardamom
- about 10 apples (seeded, peeled, and quartered)
- 1 cup water
- 2 TB lemon juice
- ~1/4 cup sugar (to taste)
- 1 cardamom pod
- 1/2 of a star anise
Add all ingredients except sugar in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on medium-high about 15-20 minutes, until apples smash easily with a fork. Discard cardamom and star anise. Drain water if needed. Add sugar to taste.
Add all ingredients except sugar to slow cooker. Cook 3 hours on high or 6 on low, until apples smash easily with a fork. Discard cardamom and star anise. Drain water if needed. Add sugar to taste.
Recipe adapted from: Food.com