Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Easy Baked Applesauce

Easy Baked Applesauce


Fear Conquered: Easy Applesauce

If this recipe sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Five years ago I came up with this baked applesauce recipe to achieve three primary objectives with my applesauce:

  • Consistent texture: There’s nothing worse than rolled-up, pointy spiked apple-peels in your applesauce. So I thoroughly peel all apples before dicing and turning into sauce.
  • Use the peels: Much of the nutritional goodness from an apple is in the peels. Think vitamins, minerals and fiber. So rather than pitching the peels, I cook and puree the peels and then stir into the apple sauce. That way I keep all the nutritional goodness in my applesauce.
  • No sugar added: Apples are sweet enough and adding extra sugar seems pointless. So I decided to use the oven concentrate the apple flavor and caramelize the natural apple sugars for a sweeter taste.

Basically, I wanted a healthier applesauce but I didn’t want to sacrifice texture or flavor. And the recipe worked.

Peeling Apples with Apple Peeler Vertical

But I quickly started looking for ways to simplify things. Who wants to be tied to the stove stirring apples so they don’t stick to the bottom? Not this guy. And who wants to waste apple cider on making applesauce? I’d much rather enjoy it in a glass, as it was intended.

After five years and a dozen batches of applesauce, I’ve found an easier way to make the same applesauce in roughly the same amount of time. Best of all, it’s just as healthful and flavorful. What’s missing are the extra steps and ingredients.

Baked Applesauce in Cast Iron Dutch Oven

This is truly baked applesauce. Start to finish. No stovetop, no boiling pots, no waiting by the stove. Revolutionary concept? Well, at least evolutionary.


Photo Tutorial

Kitchen Gadgets for Making Easy Applesauce
Gather your kitchen tools for making applesauce. I like to use an apple peeler, apple corer/dicer, chopper and a dutch oven.

8 Pounds of Honeycrisp Apples
You will need 8 pounds of apples. I recommend a mix of apples.

Peeling Apples with Apple Peeler
Peel the apples and save the peels in a separate oven-safe pot with a fitting oven-safe lid.

Cored and Sliced Apple Wedges
Core the apples.

Diced Apples in Dutch Oven
Dice the apples and add to a large 7-9 quart dutch oven with a tight fitting lid.

Covered Dutch Oven
Cover the dutch oven and bake the apples at 350F for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

Apple Peels in Pot with Pyrex Cup
Add 1 cup of purified water to the reserved apple peels. Cover the pot and bake in the oven for 2 hours with the diced apples, stirring every 30 minutes.

Baked Applesauce in Dutch Oven
After baking 2 hours, about 3/4 of the diced apples should have broken down into a chunky sauce.

Stewed Apple Peels
After baking 2 hours, the apple peels should be mushy.

Apple Peel Puree in Vitamix Blender
Transfer the mushy peels to a blender (I use a Vitamix) and puree until very smooth.

Baked Applesauce in Dutch Oven with Pureed Apple Peels
Stir the puree into the applesauce until evenly mixed. Increase the oven temperature to 375F and roast the applesauce uncovered for 90 minutes, stirring every 30 minutes. Optionally add spices such as cinnamon at this stage.

Caramelized Applesauce in Dutch Oven
After 90 minutes, the applesauce should be reduced and caramelized.

Easy Baked Applesauce
Serve immediately or cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.


Easy Baked Applesauce

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 45 min
     Cook Time: 3.5 hrs

Ingredients (2 quarts)
  • 8 pounds (20-25) mixed apples, washed, peeled, cored and diced (peels reserved)
  • 1 cup purified water
  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉
  2. Add the diced apples to a large 7 to 9 quart dutch oven and cover; add the apple peels and water to a separate oven-safe pot and cover
  3. Bake the apples and apple peels covered for 2 hours until 3/4 of the apples have broken down into a sauce and the peels are mushy, stirring both pots every 30 minutes
  4. Transfer the cooked apple peels and cooking juice to a blender and puree until very smooth; stir the puree into the baked apples
  5. Increase the oven temperature to 375℉ and roast the applesauce uncovered for 1.5 to 2 hours until the sauce is thickened and caramelized, stirring every 30 minutes
  6. Serve immediately or to cool to room temperature before refrigerating for up to a week or freezing for up to a year
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Hungry for Tips?
  • Roasting: Roasting the applesauce is critical for caramelizing the natural sugars in the apples, resulting in a sweeter sauce. Roasting also helps to concentrate the apple flavor by evaporating much of the liquid and so thickening the sauce. Skip the stovetop and use your oven.
  • Apple Variety: The best-tasting applesauce is one packed with a variety of apples. I try to use at least 3 types of apples: something sweet, something crisp and something tart. I personally love to mix Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious and Macintosh. But use whatever mix you like.
  • Spice or No Spice: This applesauce doesn’t require spices to give it flavor. It’s got lots of flavor thanks to the caramelization and the puree of peels. But if you like spices such as cinnamon or cloves, stir some in along with the puree. Or don’t. This sauce is bursting with flavor no matter what.
  • Water: NEVER add water to applesauce - it results in watery flavor and texture. If you bake the apples instead of cooking on the stovetop, you will never need to add water. Apples release plenty of water throughout the cooking process.
  • Apple Seconds: You can save significantly on applesauce if you pick up "seconds" apples from your local farm. In fact, "seconds" are typically about 2/3 the price of apples sold even at bargain stores like Walmart. So if you can find apple seconds, stock up and make a few batches of sauce.

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