Monday, April 15, 2013

Applesauce - With a Red Hot Ingredient

Several months ago I had suggested and an inspiring idea, at least I thought so, on my Facebook page that people should make a family heirloom favorite. I had wanted to make my mother's applesauce, but couldn't find an ingredient that made it so special. Her applesauce is unique. As a child, I remember when she would make this sweet treat and it never stayed around for very long in the refrigerator. Her secret ingredient was cinnamon candy, and she would add the small, fiery red rounds in the smashed apples and they would melt in, giving the applesauce this beautiful deep pink color. I haven't had this childhood favorite in years. The last time I remember making it was about 16 or 17 years ago.

To begin, pick out 10 large red delicious apples and wash them well. Peeling the apples is up to you. My mom didn't peel the apples. You could purée the apples, which will be in a later step. Chop the apples in chunks, discarding the core. Add apples to a large pot. Add enough water to just cover the apples, about 10 cups.


Bring water to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer apples for 1 hour with lid on, checking and stirring apples often.  After 1 hour, the apples will begin to break down and get soft.  Using a potato masher or the back of a slotted spoon, mash down the apples.  The applesauce will be slightly chunky at this point.  Strain the apples in batches, don't worry if some of the liquid doesn't drain all the way.  A little liquid is OK.  At this point you can either puree the mixture in a food processor (best if you left the peel on), or put in through a food mill, if you have one.  The consistency will be finer.  For a more chunky consistency, return drained apples to pot and keep mashing.  I picked out the large pieces of peel, which was a tad time consuming, but it didn't bother me.  After apples have been pureed, you you did this, return to pot.  Keep heat on medium low and add 6 to 8 ounces of red hot cinnamon candy.  Stir until melted.  You can adjust the flavor if you like by adding more candy or ground cinnamon, but for my taste I do not find this necessary.  The candy does NOT make the applesauce spicy, it just gives the cinnamon flavor and turns the applesauce a dark pink color.

I hope you take a trip down my memory lane and try this delicious applesauce for yourself. Don't let those old family recipes die. Keep making them for new generations to enjoy in your family. Family cherished recipes tell a story or take you back to a wonderful time, and in making them you continue the story and the memory of it forever.

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