How ‘Bout Them Apples

Homemade applesauce is simple to prepare and deeply nostalgic, with the pwer to bring you back to Grandma's kitchen, family dinners, or wherever you enjoyed it as a child. This is our favorite version, from chef Eric Lee of Acerage Ciderhouse & Eatery. 

Photo by Cassandra Stiltner

“The basic process of applesauce is the same across the board, but there are little variations you can try to get completely different flavors. Some people put a vanilla bean in there, some people like adding star anise… variants are really easy. And the cool thing is, apples are pretty cheap, so if you don’t like it, you can go back and do it again.” —Acreage chef Eric Lee

Acreage Applesauce

INGREDIENTS
10 unpeeled red culinary apples, cored
¼ cup cane sugar
3 juniper berries
1 lemon peel
1 Saigon cinnamon stick
Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS
Chop the apples into large pieces, no smaller than 1-inch cubes. In a large mixing bowl, toss the pieces with the cane sugar. Toast the juniper berries in a dry pan for a few minutes, making sure to remove them from the heat before they burn. Mash the berries with a mortar and pestle and add to the apple mixture with the lemon peel, cinnamon stick, and salt. Toss the mixture again. Place a thick-bottomed stainless-steel pan over medium- high heat, wait until it’s very hot, and pour in the apple mixture, letting it sear for 3-5 minutes without stirring to create some caramelization on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the apples break down, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. When the mixture is mostly uniform, with some big apple chunks still visible, remove from heat and discard the cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Allow the mixture to cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a food processor (for a smoother applesauce) or food mill (for a chunkier version). Purée the mixture until it’s uniform and mostly smooth, with some texture still visible. Transfer immediately to a shallow pan to cool. Serve with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

Acreage Ciderhouse & Eatery
1380 Horizon Ave, Unit A,
Lafayette