It’s Thanksgiving week. Which is the culmination of autumn. And for me, the power of autumn lies not in the bullshit power of pumpkin (let’s be honest, half-a-dozen other squashes will kick pumpkin right in the gourds — uhh, hello? Butternut? Acorn? Kabocha? Motherfucking delicata?), but rather, in the power of apples.
My son, he loves applesauce. He would stab me to get to the applesauce that I made — foolishly, of course, since I’m the dude actually making that applesauce. He kills me? No more applesauce, kid. But he loves applesauce so much it’s like he’s on bath salts. It clouds his brain. Ruins his judgment. Makes him run around willy-nilly in a sociopathic nightmare video game world of his own making where instead of eating dots and running from ghosts he’s running from cops and eating people’s faces.
Needless to say, we make sure he gets his applesauce fix.
I’ve been trying to circumnavigate a strong applesauce recipe for a long time — the proper spices, liquids, apples. Since we have a VitaMix blender, I can just take raw apple, chuck it in there, and arrive at a capable applesauce in like, 30 seconds. No cooking required.
As a sidenote, for those who do not possess a VitaMix and who are hesitant about paying the admittedly-exorbitant advice –? It’s worth it. I use that thing as often as I use our oven, which is to say, with great frequency. It’s like paying to have a grizzly bear hang out in your kitchen, a robotic grizzly bear who will gnash up in his mouth anything you require… uh, gnashed. The blender will chop up whatever you so desire. You can chuck a boombox in there and it’ll turn it into a black slurry. If you throw a single molecule of uranium into the spinning blades, you will create nuclear fusion. Or fission.
Or maybe just uranium pudding, I dunno, shut up.
Back to this goddamn applesauce.
So, like I said, I’ve been working on various applesauce recipes over the course of the many moons, and I think I’ve arrived at one. This recipe is needlessly complicated. And when I say needlessly, I mean it — I suspect these steps (which drift toward the alchemical) are somehow irrelevant. I could probably do this much easier. Each component is almost certainly extraneous, but hey, whatever. This is the only way I’ve been able to arrive at an applesauce I properly adore. B-Dub loves it, too, because I tried one day to take this applesauce away from him, and he bit off my index finger with all his new teeth. And fresh baby teeth are sharp. They’re like new knives. They are at maximum ouchieness.
Here’s what you do to get the applesauce inside your body:
Strike that. Four honeycrisp apples. I have tried this with other apples — *angry buzzer sound* — nope, just ain’t the same. Your mileage may of course vary in that you prefer other apples. Fine. Whatever. Philistine.
Take two apples and peel them.
Then roughly cut ’em up. Couple-inch pieces. You don’t need to dice ’em. Get a cleaver and — whack whack whack — make it happen.
Then take the other two apples and dice them up. Little cubes the size of the tip of your pinky finger. Maximum surface area. That’s what you want. Which is also the name of my Die Hard-esque action movie where I battle terrorists not in a giant skyscraper but rather in an empty asphalt lot. My catchphrase is, “You Want Valet Parking, Motherfucker?” THEN BOOM.
Now: bisect your apple supply. Little cubes over there. Big rough hunks over there.
The diced bits are going to be roasted.
The bigger chunks cooked on a stovetop.
For the roasting:
Take your HELL CHAMBER (‘oven’) and launch that badboy into the area of 425F. When roasty-toasty, take your apples and spread them on a non-stick cookie sheet. You will now become the Brown Sugar Fairy and sprinkle brown sugar over them. Also: a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
Then into the oven they go. Fifteen minutes or until they are totally soft and show a little color.
For the stovetoppery:
Chuck (HAH I’M A VERB MOTHERFUCKERS) those apple chunks into a saucepan. Cover them roughly with — no, no, not water, put that goddamn water down. Don’t be an asshole. Water is worthless here. And so boring! Water is the thief of taste. No, here it’s — well, you know how in some recipes you cover beef in beef broth, or chicken in chicken broth? We’re going to cover the apples in drum roll please, apple broth.
By which I mean, apple cider. Not hard apple cider, unless you’re a liquor pig.
Use the apple cider of your choice. I like unfiltered.
Another sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger.
Also: a half-a-TB of vanilla sugar.
If you have no vanilla sugar (which is easy to make: you bury a used-up vanilla bean in your sugar like you’re a cat burying his, erm, “tootsie rolls” in the sandbox, then you wait like, a day and all your sugar smells like vanilla), maybe try just a splash of vanilla extract and the same amount of sugar. I don’t know. I don’t care. You do what you like, I’m not your mother.
UNLESS I AM.
*dun dun dun*
Boil, then reduce heat to a simmah.
So: cook until the apples are fork-tender. Shouldn’t be more than ten minutes.
When done, you take:
The roasted apples.
And the stovetop apples.
And you throw them in a blender. Or a food processor. Or under a potato masher. Or in a bowl with a fork. Or under the feet of some dancing homeless person. I don’t really care how you smoosh this stuff up.
Oh! But wait there’s more.
Into the mix, pre-blend, put one-third a cup of the cider in there.
(The rest of the cider: Uhh, drinky-drunky-dranky that shit, hoss. It’s warm and delicious. Especially with whiskey! Then again, aren’t all things better with whiskey? THEY ARE IT’S SCIENCE.)
I blend on low for a short time to get a chunky sauce.
You may like a smoother sauce because you are a coward.
That’s okay. Blend it to an airy froth if you like. I’m not the boss of you.
UNLESS I AM.
*dun dun dun*
One last thing:
You think, “Oh, I can just start eating this applesauce right fucking now.”
But you would be mistaken.
Stop. Put it in a glass dish. Cover it up.
Then put it in your refrigerator (aka THE COLD-BOT). Overnight. Overnight. Do not test my patience. Do not ruin your own taste sensation. This applesauce needs time to cool down. For all the flavors to marry together in an autumnal orgy of sweet arctic fruit-sex.
Only then will you eat it.
And only then will you thank me for my needlessly complicated applesauce recipe.
I accept donations in the form of bottles of whiskey.
*waits for whiskey*