Enjoy Holiday Applesauce 2 Ways

A few added surprises make both versions special.
Enjoy Holiday Applesauce 2 Ways
Applesauce can be made up to a week ahead of your celebration. (Dreamstime/TNS)

I love applesauce. It is comforting and a wonderful accompaniment to many dishes. It’s also a dish that really is seriously simple to make. But my one caveat about applesauce is that it must be chunky. I’m not a fan of the totally pureed version. However, if you are, no worries. Just cook the sauces down until you can puree them with a hand blender; you can also use a potato masher to leave a little texture.

Here, you’ll find two of my very favorite applesauce versions, both with some added surprises.

In the maple version, you’ll notice I have added any pear of your choice to add an extra layer of flavor along with maple syrup as the sweetener. This is a crowd-pleasing version to accompany potato latkes on Hanukkah. The flavors meld well together.

In the Asian pear-quince interpretation, you’ll find a cinnamon stick along with three winter fruits cooked together. Sometimes simple additions to a basic recipe can make a grand difference. Quince takes more time to cook and gives off a tropical fruit perfume. The Asian pears maintain a crisp quality, adding unexpected taste and texture to traditional applesauce. I like to serve this as an accompaniment to roast chicken or turkey or any braised beef entrée. It’s also nice gently heated and spooned over French vanilla ice cream.

Either one of these apple-rich sauces would pair nicely with crispy potatoes, roasted vegetables, or spooned over slices of pound cake.

Make these two versions up to a week ahead and keep tightly covered and refrigerated until using. When you are doing a lot of holiday cooking, it’s nice to have a few meal components made in advance.

Maple-Pear Applesauce

Makes about 4 cups
  • 6 medium Pink Lady, Fuji, or McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 medium pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
Place all the ingredients in a heavy nonaluminum saucepan on medium heat. Cover and simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the apples are slightly softened.
Remove cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally to break up the large pieces and until the apples are soft but there is still some texture, about another 7 to 10 minutes. (You can use a potato masher if you want it more pureed.) Adjust seasoning with more maple syrup or lemon juice. Cool and refrigerate.

Asian Pear-Quince Applesauce

Makes about 5 cups
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 quince, peeled, cored, and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 Asian pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 Pippin apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 2-inch chunks
In a large casserole over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, and cinnamon stick and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Add the quince and bring it to a low simmer. Cover and cook for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the pears and apples and continue cooking for about 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally, until the apples have softened. Remove the cinnamon stick. If you prefer a pureed sauce-like consistency, puree the sauce in the pot with the hand blender to reach the desired consistency.

Spoon the sauce into containers until ready to use. It is delicious served warm, room temperature, or chilled.

Dear Readers: We would love to hear from you. What topics would you like to read about? Please send your feedback and tips to [email protected].
Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including "Seriously Simple Parties," and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at SeriouslySimple.com. Copyright 2021 Diane Rossen Worthington. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Related Topics