Judy Rodgers' Roasted Applesauce (and Savory Apple Charlottes)

By • November 4, 2011 • 11 Comments



Author Notes: No cinnamon, no cloves -- this sauce is straight up apple, mainlined to your belly.

It comes from Judy Rodgers' must-own Zuni Cafe Cookbook and -- as with everything she serves at the San Francisco institution -- she keeps it smart and simple, balancing the apples only as needed with small amounts of salt, sugar and apple cider vinegar. She throws in an optional bonus dessert recipe too -- a charlotte, which is basically apple pie, without having to make the pie. It's light, as apple desserts go, and it would make a great cooking project for kids.
Genius Recipes

Makes 3 cups of applesauce and 4 charlottes (with sauce to spare)

Roasted Applesauce

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds apples (Rodgers uses crisp eating apples, like Sierra Beauties, Braeburns, Pippins, Golden Delicious or Galas)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Up to 2 teaspoons sugar, as needed
  • About 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • A splash of apple cider vinegar, as needed
  1. Heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Toss with a little salt and, unless they are very sweet, a bit of sugar to taste. If they are tart enough to make you squint, add the full measure of sugar. Spread in a shallow baking dish that crowds the apples in a single layer. Drape with slivers of the butter, cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil, and bake until the apples start to soften, 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your apples.
  3. Uncover, raise the heat to 500 F, and return the pan to the oven. Leave the apples to dry out and color slightly, about 10 minutes.
  4. When the tips of the apples have become golden and the fruit is tender, scrape them into a bowl and stir into a chunky mash. Season with salt and sugar to taste, then consider a splash of apple cider vinegar to brighten the flavor. (Try a drop on a spoonful to see if you like it.)
  5. You can stop here or go on to make the Savory Apple Charlottes.

Savory Apple Charlottes

  • A chunk of day-old, chewy, peasant-style bread (4 ounces or more -- you won't use more than 2 ounces, but you need plenty to work with in order to get the right shapes)
  • About 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • About 1 1/3 cups Roasted Applesauce
  1. Note: Make these ramekins in straight-sided 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Slice the bread 1/8 inch thick. (Partially freeze if necessary to get even slices.) Avoiding the crust, cut 8 circles sized to fit the bottom of your custard cups, then cut 4 long rectangles to line the sides. Kitchen shears work well for this. The side piece should rise about 1/8 inch above the rims. (You can cut paper templates first to make this easy, but it's pretty forgiving.) A snug fit and even edges will make your charlottes prettiest. (Save scraps and rejects for croutons or bread crumbs.)
  3. Brush the bread evenly, on one side only, with the melted butter. Line the custard cups with the bread, pressing the buttered faces against the dishes. Set the 4 extra circles aside. Fill each cup with roasted applesauce. Set the remaining bread circles, buttered side up, on top, held in place by the surrounding bread. Press down lightly.
  4. Bake until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. To serve, slide a knife around the edge of each charlotte, then turn out onto warm plates. If the bottom circles stick to the dish, retrieve them by sliding a salad fork under the edges. The charlottes should be golden brown all over, with tasty caramelized spots where the applesauce bled through the coarse-textured bread.
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Comments (11) Questions (1)

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3 months ago NellyBell

I love this and make it whenever I can. Sometimes I use olive oil instead of butter, but it's always good. My favorite way to eat it is for breakfast with yogurt. But I also love it by itself or with pork. I dream about making the charlottes.

Stringio

6 months ago Wilma Diaz-Cruz

I just made this. Of course, I was so excited that I didn't read the directions and I added the sugar, ACV and salt before putting in dish. Well, it came out really tasty and yummy. I added a bit more sugar after mashing and served on top of good vanilla ice cream. Thank you!!

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11 months ago EmilyC

Made this today and it's perfect. Love everything from the roasting technique, especially the blast at the end that caramelizes the edges of the apples, to the call for apple cider vinegar over the more common lemon juice. So excited to have a big bowl of this in my fridge.

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over 1 year ago Galapagos

You will want the cookbook! I've made nothing from it I haven't loved. Have to try theses now.

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over 1 year ago sffoodie52

This recipe is amazing! So simple and delicious; the "hardest" part is peeling and coring the apples. Am not a fan of cooked apples at all, but this is exceptional. I've made this 3 times this fall. Depending on the type/size of the apple pieces, I've had to bake longer than 30 minutes. Start with tiny amount of vinegar -- doesn't need much. Had to sign-up and log-in just to thank you for this recipe!

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about 2 years ago hungryheart

i made this not expecting much with boring red delicious apples, and the result was stunning. i didn't use butter or sugar, and i drizzled about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in with the apples at the beginning. i let it go on a little past 10 minutes so that the bottoms of the apple quarters began to caramelize as well. so luscious and thick. i've never trusted red delicious apples in the oven, but this recipe is seriously genius.

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over 2 years ago SusanR

Made this last night for the first time to serve with latkes. This is absolutely my apple sauce recipe for the rest of time. Simple, and simply delicious!! I did not use the cider vinegar, it just was not necessary. Also did not use two tablespoons of butter, just lightly dotted the top. THANKS for this recipe!!

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over 2 years ago kathy Diener

This is Delicous and so easy. I'm making a big batch to give to family this weekend.

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over 2 years ago Victoria Carr

I have made this delicious applesauce, but not the wonderful-sounding Apple Charlotte. I'm on it.

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over 2 years ago ellenu

Made this tonight and loved it. It's wonderful on its own and would be great over oatmeal.

Cakes

over 2 years ago Bevi

Thanks for posting this - another inspiration to me and my apple tree!