Warm applesauce, fresh from the pan is one of my favorite fall childhood memories. Every apple season, my grandmotherly babysitter, Ms. Betty, would whip up a huge batch of applesauce to store for the winter. On almost every autumn visit and on into the brisk winter, Ms. Betty would heat up a bowl of that golden applesauce, topping it with a special sprinkle of extra cinnamon, for both my brother and I’s little stomachs.
What else is a traditional, old-time cook going to feed two unconventionally vegan kids? Vegan or not, smooth applesauce almost always gets kid-approval. I certainly didn’t care how many times in a row I was served the naturally sweet treat. It never got old to me.
A childhood pleasure and still a favorite today, I continue to enjoy applesauce straight from the pan, this time filling my own kitchen with the sweet smell of cinnamon and apples. Nothing beats that on a cool fall day, especially when the apples also come from a basket you filled straight from the tree.
-3 apples, peeled and chopped
-1/2 cup of water or apple juice, plus more depending on juiciness of the apple variety
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-2 tsp. honey or brown sugar, optional
Heat medium-large saucepan over medium heat. Add water, apples, and cinnamon. Cook until water is reduced and apples are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. (Add in extra water by the tablespoon if water begins to evaporate too quickly, and apples don’t release enough juice.) Remove from heat and stir in sweetener, if desired. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor, blending until desired consistency is achieved. Serve hot or cold.