Applesauce may be one of the culinary world's best-kept secrets. Fresh applesauce is incredibly easy and so quick, it's a wonder (or maybe just a shame) anyone buys it in a jar at the store.
My "food appreciation" classes resumed after the Thanksgiving break to take up seasonal fruits and I've been wanting to focus on apples. Applesauce turns out to be an ideal subject because in addition to taking hardly any time at all, it involves some of the kids' favorite equipment, including the mechanical apple peeler and the food mill. So there was plenty for everyone to do. (I now have the kids trained to save the peels and cores from the apples for my compost pile.)
This is hardly a recipe, more a formula. Take three pounds sweet apples (I used gala, but I've seen Macintosh frequently mentioned). Peel and core the apples, then chop them into 1/2-inch pieces. Place these in a pot with 1/2 cup water, bring to a boil on the stove top, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the apples are cooked through and tender.
Run the cooked apple through a food mill over a bowl (or pulse in a food processor--it should be a bit chunky, not perfectly smooth). Season with approximately 1/4 cup light brown sugar and about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste. Mix well and serve warm.
That's all there is to it. And kids couldn't have been happier with the results. They wolfed it down and begged for seconds.
While the apples were cooking, we read a storybook that sort of jumped out at me while I was visiting the children's section at our main library branch here in the District of Columbia. Called Latkes and Applesauce, it's about a snowbound, starving Jewish peasant family outside Minsk whose yearning for their traditional Hanukkah meal is miraculously resolved by a homeless kitten and a stray dog.
Hmmmmm. I'm trying to think who might play the lead in the film version.