Jump to the InstaRecipe if you’re in a rush and/or don’t want any Dad Advice!
November 08, 2022. Dear Kids– After an exactly six month hiatus, that included a call from a Food Network casting agent who somehow found this tiny blog and interviewed me to be on Guy’s Grocery Games (more on this, once my frosted tips dry, in a future post), I’m back!
I will admit, while I’ve been able to start back sooner with the InstaRecipes , it’s been a challenge to commit to the additional time and thought for Dad’s Dinner Diary. As I write this, it dawns on me that you kids may actually prefer the brevity of the InstaRecipes, but I’ll ignore that thought for the moment to assume and hope you appreciate the additional heart, soul, and humor you find here.
To help get back into the swing of things, I’ve picked a very short and sweet recipe for practically instant applesauce to ease me back into writing and you back into reading- it’s the perfect quick recipe for this time of year, when the days are getting shorter and the apples are getting better.
It’s also a recipe I had overlooked whenever we needed a a cup or two of applesauce for a snack or as part of our meal. In these cases, I would, without fail, opt for the plastic cups of applesauce we always seem to have in the cupboard now that GM is in the house, thinking my only other alternative was to commit to a bunch of pots, pans and messes to make fresh applesauce.
That was until something finally clicked the other day after I found out we did not, in fact, always have plastic applesauce cups in the house when your GM, and my mother-in-law, asked for one for a snack! At that point, I was feeling like my status of favorite son-in-law was in jeopardy, even though I’m technically GM’s only son-in-law! Fortunately, the old adage, “necessity is the mother of invention” (although, in this case, it was technically the mother-in-law of invention) proved to be true and that, along the mild panic that accompanied the necessity, was enough to jog my memory into recalling something I once read about microwave applesauce. Then, after some quick research into the matter, I am relieved to report it was only a matter of minutes before GM was happily enjoying my first version of “The Easiest and Fastest Applesauce on the Planet”.
From there, I went on to test out a variety of apples and cooking methods and times until I was, and, more importantly, GM, was happy with the recipe you find here today. I only hope you like it as much as GM.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Servings: 1 (about 4 ounces/half cup)
GET YOUR STUFF OUT
- 1 large or 2 medium apple(s)- 6-7 ounces
COOK AND PLAY
Play “Shamieka” or any other song by, you guessed it, Fiona Apple while you make your sauce. You’ll just have time for one song though, since this recipe is just that fast- in fact, “Shamieka” takes longer to finish than the applesauce.
1. That’s It! Peel and cut 4 sides (“cheeks”) off apple(s), so all that is left is the rectangular core(s) you could compost. Cut each cheek into a 1/2” dice, transfer diced apple to microwave safe bowl, and microwave on high (Caution: bowl will get hot) until apples are soft- about 3 minutes. Cooking times may vary depending on microwave power and firmness of apple. Mash with a big fork until saucy. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
GM Loves Her Some Apples. I don’t know of anyone that gets excited about apples like your grandmother. She always has apples on the shopping list when they’re in season and many times even if they’re not, and always has a stash of applesauce cups in the pantry, except for the exception noted above. She is also very opinionated on the quality of her apples and applesauce, so it’s best not to cross her when it comes to apples. So, the fact that GM officially endorses this recipe- so much so that when she asked for just a spoonful from a bowl of applesauce in the “test kitchen” after finishing her lunch, she ended up eating the entire 8 ounce bowl- is the most important credential I can offer to inspire you to make it.
Apples For Applesauce. As GM knows, apples can be firm or tender and sweet or tart/tangy. Many say a combination of sweet and tart tender apples makes for the best flavored and textured applesauce, but I say use any apple(s) you like or have on hand and go from there. To guide you on your journey through the Apple Forest (not a real place, but a metaphor for the apple section in your local grocery), here’s a classification (although opinions may vary) of the more common apples from apple aficionado, Amy Treverso, who is the author of the “Apple Lovers Cookbook”. Note- the apple types I tested are in bold.
Sweet/Tender: Ambrosia, Fuji (I found very sweet), Gala
Tart/Tender: Cortland, Empire, Macintosh (or McIntosh), Macoun
Sweet/Firm. Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Jazz, Pink Lady
Tart/Firm. Granny Smith, Northern Spy (GM’s fav and said by many to be amazing for pies), Rome, Suncrisp
In spite of some of the classifications above, I found most of the apples I tested mashed up easily with a fork, except for the Fuji and Pink Lady (even after an extra 2-3 minutes in the microwave). Still, even those apples became smooth as silk after a minute or two with a stick blender.
Applesauce Applications. While GM eats applesauce as a snack or with most any lunch or dinner, the rest of the family almost exclusively uses applesauce on the side with either pork chops, ala Peter Brady or latkes. Still, I hear it’s nice with roast poultry and many use applesauce in quick breads, cakes and other baked goods to add flavor and moisture without fat- which reminds me, Mom uses applesauce in her famous cornbread (go to end of this Lecture for that recipe)!
Other ideas- stir into oatmeal; add to a cheese board; eat as a snack mixed into non or low fat Greek yogurt topped with nuts, granola, seeds or other crunchy stuff; use as a topping on pancakes or ice cream (warm it up and add in granola for a pretend apple crisp); or add a bit to a vinaigrette, BBQ sauce or autumn soup, stew or chili.
The Peak of Apple Flavor and Texture. For the best applesauce, you need only use in season apples- a season that extends July through November, depending on your location and type of apple. Sure, you can mix in brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, grated ginger, lemon, red hots or more to taste if you like, but make sure you really want to complicate matters and detract from the apple flavor. As for out of season apples- maybe one or two of the aforesaid adornment might help or perhaps it’s best to avoid them altogether and use a high quality, unsweetened applesauce from your grocer’s shelf that will not be fresh, but should at least be made with in season apples- it’s up to you.
More Servings. You can obviously zap several batches of “The Easiest & Fastest Applesauce on the Planet”, at 3 minutes each, until you get the amount of servings you like or you can add several servings to the bowl at once and increase the cooking time until the apples are all mashable- 16 ounces (4 servings) at once, takes about 10 minutes, with a stir up after 5 minutes. Side Note- I actually prefer the individual batches since they don’t take that much longer than a 4 serving batch- the smaller amounts also cook more evenly and let you avoid handling a hot bowl more than once while cooking.
For more than four servings, it’s worth making a big batch, which is not too much more effort- just pour about 1/4 inch or so of water into a big pot; add as many cored apples wedges* as you like (leaving at least a few inches from the top of the pot); cover and simmer, occasionally stirring, until the apples are soft (15-25 minutes depending on amount/type of apples) and run the cooked apples through the middle disc of a food mill for an applesauce that has no equal.
* You can leave the skin on the apples because the food mill “peels” the skin much easier and better than most humans could. On top of that, leaving the skin on while cooking the apples will offer more nutrients and often a nice, pinkish hue to the sauce.
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