I love cookbooks. I guess that must come as no surprise but I think it warrants stating. Even though I rarely “cook from a book,” I love to while away the hours flipping through their pages. So when I recently bought a new bookcase for my kitchen, it was such a treat to rediscover the collection that had been buried in boxes in my basement. One of the greats that I dug out of those boxes was The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. While I’ve never eaten at this San Francisco institution, the recipes in this book are true classics that have inspired me for years. This recipe for baked applesauce is one such inspiration.
Because this applesauce is only slightly sweet, depending on the sweetness of the apples themselves and just two tablespoons of sugar added in, it can be utilized in so many different ways. It can be served hot next to pork chops, warm on top of oatmeal, cold with Greek yogurt and granola, or at room temperature as a snack all by itself. It’s versatile, delicious, and made from natural ingredients, everything a classic recipe ought to be.
Makes 3 cups
3 pounds eating apples (such as Braeburn, Fuji, Macintosh, etc), peeled, cored, and quartered
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 whole star anise
1 whole cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped
Ground cinnamon, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- While you are preparing the apples, squeeze the lemon juice over them and periodically toss to coat them. This will prevent them from browning as you work.
- Pour the lemon coated apples into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, add the water, sugar, star anise, and cinnamon stick, and stir to coat the apples. Dot with the chopped butter. Bake about 40 minutes, until very soft, stirring once or twice during baking time.
- Carefully remove the cinnamon stick and star anise and pour the apple mixture into a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash to the desired consistency. Serve, hot, room temperature, or cold. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon if you like.
Nutritional analysis based on 6 (1/2 cup) servings (does not include ground cinnamon for serving):
Calories 159, Fat 4g, Sodium 27mg, Carbohydrate 33g, Fiber 3g, Sugar 27g, Protein 1g