Baked Apples and Applesauce

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The same ingredients. Two different recipes.



This weekend we went apple-picking in New Jersey. And pumpkin-picking. And cherry tomato-picking. Not to mention, of course, the cider and the doughnuts that found their way into our bags. But back to the apples. Caught up in the beauty of the day, we ended up picking (and buying) 14 pounds of apples. Once we got home, I quickly realized I needed to do something with the ones we weren't planning to snack on over the next couple of weeks. It occurred to me that this was a great opportunity for...nothing other than a Recipe Inside-Out! Below, you'll find a recipe for baked apples and one for applesauce. Hope you enjoy them!

Baked Apples

Serves 4

  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch salt
  • 4 medium, firm apples
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup apple cider

1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Finely zest the lemon and set aside the naked lemon for later. In a small bowl, stir together the zest, brown sugar, spices and salt.

2. Cut the top third off each apple and use a melon baller to dig out the core, leaving a small hollow. Arrange the apples in a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Evenly divide the sugar and spice mixture among the four hollows, sprinkling some over the tops of the apples if you have extra.

3. Squeeze the juice from half of the lemon over the top of the apples, and then drizzle the maple syrup evenly over that. Dot the apples with dabs of butter and pour the cider around the apples. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 40 minutes, until the apples are tender. Uncover and if you'd like, put the apples under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the tops. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, mascarpone or heavy cream.

Spiced Applesauce with Cider and Maple Syrup

Makes about 6 cups

  • 4 pounds tart, firm apples
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus additional to taste
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

1. Core the apples and cut them into large chunks (don't bother to peel them unless you don't have a food mill or potato ricer).

2. Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup and salt and cook for a minute or so until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble, and you can smell the sugar starting to caramelize. Add the apples and stir to coat them in the butter and sugar. Add the cider, cover the pan and lower the heat so that apples are simmering. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender.

3. Carefully (they're hot!) put the cooked apples through a food mill or a potato ricer (or you can purée them with a hand masher if you've peeled them) and return the applesauce to the saucepan. Stir in the spices, and then add lemon juice to taste and more maple syrup if you'd like (this will depend on the tartness of your apples and on how sweet you like your applesauce). Serve warm, cold or at room temperature, preferably with a river of cream poured over the top.