12.10.13 Winter Spice Cranberry Applesauce
Recently, I came into a large supply of apples. Don’t ask me how, but let’s just say that when we returned home from our Thanksgiving festivities in the Twin Cities, it was with a lot of extra apples. Now I love apples, I really do. But what to do when you have so many? In my opinion, there’s really only one thing you can do - make applesauce. It’s super easy, uses up a ton of apples, and while you’re cooking it, your house smells absolutely amazing. But with it being December and all, regular applesauce just won’t do. I needed some applesauce with a little holiday flair.
Luckily, my freezer is well stocked with bags of lovely red cranberries from the farmer’s market, and I figured that throwing a few of them into the applesauce would not only make it taste more wintery, but also give it a lovely red color. Not only that, but I also thought that if cooking up a regular batch of applesauce made the house smell fantastic, then adding in some aromatic cinnamon and star anise would only make it smell better. I was correct on both counts. On a cold, snowy, evening, with the lingering aromas of apples and spices in the air, a warm bowl of this cranberry applesauce is just the thing. And if you can suppress the urge to shorten its name to ‘crapplesauce’, more power to you.
Now I personally prefer my applesauce to be a little on the tart side. And with the addition of cranberries, it only gets more tart. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, go ahead and add more honey to tame some of the tartness. Or even some brown sugar, for some deeper molasses notes (extra points if you make your own brown sugar). And if one were to have some extra pears on hand, these would make an excellent addition to this delectable sauce. I’m just saying.
Winter Spice Cranberry Applesauce
Makes about 4 cups
- 6 large apples (I used a mix of granny smith and braeburn)
- 1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- ¼ cup honey
- 3-4 star anise pods
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 1 ½ cups water
1. Peel, core and slice apples. If you have one of these nifty gizmos that does this all for you, now is the time to use it!
2. In a large saucepan, combine the apples, cranberries, honey, star anise, cinnamon, and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until apples and cranberries have broken down and a thick sauce is formed, about 50 - 60 minutes.
3. Remove spices from the sauce (they should be visible and easy to pick out). If you prefer a smoother sauce, puree with an immersion blender. Allow sauce to cool slightly before eating. Leftover sauce will keep for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.