Friday, February 12, 2010

Chai Spiced Applesauce

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It's likely that many of you have never made your own applesauce. I assure you, there is nothing to it. And, if you want to feel a bit creative in the kitchen, while also making your house smell delish, you should try making some homemade applesauce. It's one of the few dishes you can set on the stove and walk away from (but don't go far) while it cooks down.

I will use this forum to argue once again for proper tools. To get the job done properly, you need the proper tools. You don't need an apple peeler machine to peel apples -- all you need is a straight blade knife (see pic) and a paring knife. The curved paring knife is great for easily trimming the skin off of all kinds of things, including apples. The small curve in the blade is exactly what you need to match the curve of the fruit. A great use of six or seven bucks! And, don't spend your hard-earned money on some brand name knife like Wusthof or Henckels. The winner of the Cooks Illustrated equipment test in this area is the Victorinox, a line of knives I have been using for about five years now. They need very little care, and are practically indestructible.

I often make applesauce, but today felt like using a variation I'd read about in Cooking Light. For some reason, the recipe itself isn't coming up on the Cooking Light website, but, here 'tis.

Chunky Chai Applesauce
Cooking Light, November 2008

1/2 c apple cider
2 lb apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 c brown sugar
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cardamon
dash cloves
dash pepper

Combine cider and apples in a large saucepan.

Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, or until apples are tender.

Stir in sugar and remaining ingredients; simmer 12 minutes. Stir until mixture is thick. Cover and chill.

I know - it's counter-intuitive to add peppercorns to your applesauce. But the whole chai spice combination goes well with apples. It produces a very dark-colored sauce, and is a nice change from the traditional versions.