Monday, 4 November 2013

Apple Sauce

One of the perks of coming home for the weekend? Getting to use your Dad's DSLR. I must get me one of these. Check out the blur.

I made the long (and extremely perilous) journey back to Wales during my University's 'opportunities week' (I know right, what a joke) this weekend, and, after unpacking, my first thought was 'what can I make for the blog?' I feel bad for the lack of posts on here of late, but it is extremely hard to get round to making things here, when you have no cake tins, mixing bowls or flour. All pretty important for baking. Also when your kitchen looks like this:

Shield your eyes, Mum!

Honestly, I leave for THREE days and look what happens.

My parents have an apple tree growing at the cottage they inherited a few years ago, and, on one of their many visits up there to paint this half term, found time to collect some of the fallen fruit. Having already made about 50 jars of chutney and several bags of apple sauce for the freezer, my Mum and Grandma were getting a bit stumped. That's where I came in. More than happy to spend a morning up to my elbows in apple peelings, I jumped at the chance to create something for you, dear readers.

I think I'm in love with this camera...
Apple sauce is great. You can keep it chunky and use it in crumbles or pies, or you can make it smooth and serve it with your dinner. It's also delicious in a any form with ice cream. It freezes brilliantly and will last a while in the fridge. You can spike it with any number of flavours: cinnamon, vanilla, blackberry, to name a few.
Yup, it's love.
It's also ridiculously simple to make, just a little time consuming. Just peel and core the apples, chop them up, and simmer with a splash of water, some sugar and a little lemon juice. Leave to soften for 10-15 minutes and you'll have a few bags of crumble filling ready at a moment's notice!

I will say though that the quantity of apple you use can be misleading. I have no idea the weight of apples that I used but it was about this many:

It may look like a lot, but all of those apples made one crumble and two small bags of filling. So I'd recommend getting more than you think you need, just in case. I also have no idea what kind of apples these were, as I said they were from a tree in the back garden of the cottage. I would liken them to granny smith maybe? Or definitely cooking apples will give you the same result. Go for something that will go soft pretty quickly when you cook it. Not eating apples, they rarely work in crumbles because they don't soften as well. Trust me.

Measurements for this recipe are, as always, quite vague. Amounts of water and sugar will vary depending on your personal taste and how thick you want your apple sauce to be. Be warned though that the apples will release a surprising amount of moisture when they are cooked, so I'd say add less water to start them softening than you think you need (the water is to help the apples cook and to stop them sticking to the bottom of the pan).

Apple Sauce

A bag of apples suitable for cooking, such as granny smith
3-5 heaped tbsp sugar
1/2-1 mug of cold water
squeeze of lemon juice

1. Peel and core all of your apples. Do this all in one go. You'll probably get fed up halfway through but you'll regret it if you don't finish them all, you'll be trying to stir, sweeten and peel all at the same time and the apples won't cook evenly if you add some later.
2. Chop the apples into chunks. Leave some pieces in cubes, some in slices, this means you'll get a lovely smooth sauce with some larger pieces in your crumble. If you're making a sauce, slice the apples thinner.
3. Add the apples to the pan with the lemon juice, sugar (to taste, go easy, you can always add more later), and water. Start off adding about half a mug, again, you can always add more later if the apples start to stick. Remember the apples will release a lot of liquid themselves.
4. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally. Cover with a lid and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the sauce doesn't stick. Add more sugar to taste, and more water if necessary.
5. Your sauce is done when the chunks of apple are tender and a knife will go through them easily. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.

Use in crumbles, portion into bags and freeze or store in a jar/container in the fridge. Frozen apple sauce will keep well for about 12 months in the freezer. Defrost well before use.

Keep an eye out for a delicious apple cake coming soon, as well as a recipe for crumble topping!

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