The fruit comes out of the oven puffed slightly, steaming profusely and exuding juices as sweet as nectar. The resulting mash comes together in a matter of seconds. The tartness of McIntosh apples melds seamlessly with the sweetness of Bosc pears.
Depending on the choice of aromatics and level of arm power, the sauce may be made sweet or savory, smooth or chunky. All of the variations that follow are equally effortless and impressive. Purists may shudder, but swapping maple syrup for sugar quickly became my standard.
Servings: 4 cups
- 8 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and quartered
- 4 almost ripe Bosc pears, peeled, cored and quartered
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch salt
Place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large roasting pan, toss the apples, pears, butter, sugar and salt together. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Roast for 25 minutes, uncovering to stir the fruit once or twice. (If you forget to stir or just get lazy, the sauce will still be okay.)
Uncover the pan and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the fruit feels quite tender when tested with a small, sharp knife.
Remove the pan from the oven and, using a potato masher, mash the fruit to the desired consistency.
The applesauce will keep in a covered jar in the refrigerator for several days.
Variations: Add the following ingredients before roasting:
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or cardamom
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, sage and/or thyme
Maple syrup or brown sugar instead of white sugar
"Stonewall Kitchen Harvest," by Jim Stott, Jonathan King and Kathy Gunst (Clarkson Potter, 2004).
Tested by Renee Schettler.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.