With these 75-degree New England days, it’s hard to believe we’re into fall. Despite the past few erratic weeks drenched by rain and sun, we’re lucky enough to be smack in the middle of apple season. We’re also lucky enough to have neighbors who leave kale and apples on our doorstep. I thought this only happened in the Midwest, but I was wrong and happy to be so.
The box held a mix of Honeycrisp and Macoun varieties, tender and dented, which demanded to be roasted into a rustic sauce. I added a trace of pure maple syrup to make it truly regional along with a few butter shavings for a richer texture.
I should tell you, by the way, that the apples in these pictures are the ones I bought the other night for eating straight out of the bag. The apples that were turned into sauce are now in the jar you see below. I have, on occasion, added fresh ginger and lemon juice to the mix. I’ve also made a cinnamon spiced version, but I have to tell you, this version is my favorite. It’s the sauce I spoon straight from the jar.
We usually reserve a jar for the refrigerator and freeze or can the rest—if, in fact, we make it that far.
adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook
Yield about 3 cups
5 pounds apples
pinch of sea salt
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into thin slivers
splash of apple cider vinegar, as needed
Preheat oven to 375F.
Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Toss with sea salt and maple syrup. Spread the apples in a shallow baking dish so the apples fit into a tight single layer. Add the butter slivers, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until the apples start to soften, 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the apples.
Uncover, turn the heat to 500F, and return the pan to the oven. Cook another 10 minutes or until the apples are tender and golden on the tips. Remove from the oven and lightly mash them into a chunky sauce. Season with salt and maple syrup to taste, and add a splash of apple cider vinegar to bring out the flavors of the fruit.