By Michael Somerby EBS STAFF
Long gone are the days when I’d pilfer coins from from between the couch cushions in my childhood home and beeline to my local candy store, Mackenzie’s, where in feverish delight I’d scale out ribbons of sour tape, handfuls of taffy and bags of jawbreakers.
As I’ve grown older, my appreciation for sweets has diminished, due in part to an awareness of the high fructose corn syrup and absurd amount of sugars compacted into the likes of even a single Jolly Rancher or Coca Cola, but this meant abandoning many snacks and treats that I’d grown up with, including applesauce. Mott’s was a popular go-to brand in my household, but a single serving contains 31 percent of your daily recommended sugar intake, much of it comprised of the nefarious corn-based sweetener.
So in 2015 when I took a job in a prep kitchen in London’s Elephant and Castle district—think a British Bronx—it had been years since I’d eaten applesauce. My boss and head chef Andreas, a German national, made just one item that we’d hawk at the South Bank Centre Market near the world-famous London Eye carousel: a roasted pork sandwich that used a mixture of sweet Thai chili sauce and homemade applesauce as a spread.
It’s fitting that a German should pass the simple art of applesauce on to a colonial cousin, as the dish has been a mainstay in European cuisine since Medieval times when the modern sugar trade was just a twinkle in the eye and people relied on fruits to satisfy their collective sweet tooth.
Through Andreas, I learned that applesauce might just be the simplest food in the world to make, needing nothing more than sliced apples for a sweet taste that pairs well with savory grilled pork chops and seared duck breasts, or stands on its own, hot or cold. As temperatures begin to dip in Big Sky, the cinnamon-sweetness of applesauce makes a perfect side dish, spread or snack for the evolving palettes of fall and winter.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 60-75 minutes
- 4 high-quality, ripe Granny Smith apples
- 8 high-quality, ripe McIntosh apples, or similar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon (optional, or to taste)
- 2.5 cups water
- Peel apples (optional, I prefer the skin for nutritional value, texture and appearance)
- Slice each apple into 6-8 slices, and then halve each slice
- Place apple slices and cinnamon into a medium pot of simmering water, approximately 2.5 cups, and cover with a lid
- Allow apples and water to simmer, stirring with a fork every five-to-ten minutes until apples brown and soften into a puree
- After 60-75 minutes, once water has evaporated and you have your desired consistency and texture, pull from heat and serve immediately or refrigerate for a cooler dish