In my new Magnolia Network show, Zoë Bakes, I had the privilege of heading about 40 minutes south of the Twin Cities to Sweetland Orchard where there are 5,000 apple trees and 100 apple varieties. Sweetland owner Gretchen Perbix showed me and my friend Stephanie March around the stunning apple orchard where we learned about new apple varieties and tasted some of Gretchen’s hard cider. It was a blast! I just love meeting the amazing people in our food community in Minneapolis.
When I got home I had to use some of my goodies in this apple cake with honey-cider glaze and, of course, this pretty pink applesauce. I love filling these adorable Weck jars so I can enjoy one serving at a time, or easily share with family and friends.
I like to use a variety of apples, so my applesauce has a mix of tart, sweet, firm, and softer apples. It makes the applesauce taste better and have a more interesting texture. I cook the apple, but don’t necessarily puree them. That is up to you and your preference.
The other decision to make is whether or not you want to peel the apples or leave the skins on. If you leave the skins on, you’ll end up with pink applesauce, like mine, if you’ve used red apples. You’ll want to puree the applesauce if you’ve left the skins on and strain it, otherwise, it can get “stringy” and I don’t care for that texture.
- 12 apples use red apples and leave skin on if you'd like your applesauce to be pink!
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cinnamon sticks or 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 cardamom pods or 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
- 3 star anise (optional)
- Core and slice the apples (leave skin on, or peel).
- In a large lidded pot, heat the sliced apples with the spices and honey over low heat. Continue to cook, with a lid on until the apples are soft, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes, about 30 minutes. If the sauce is too runny at the end, cook for several minutes with the lid off to cook off some of the juices.
- Stirring the applesauce is just enough agitation to break up the fruit if you want a chunky sauce. If you want a perfectly smooth sauce (or you cooked with the skins), then you’ll want to puree the applesauce in a food processor or with a hand blender. Be sure to remove the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and star anise and allow to cool before blending. If you have cooked the apples with the skins, strain the applesauce to remove any fibers.
- Pour into jars and refrigerate. This sauce is not jarred for storing in the cupboard and will last about 5 days in the refrigerator.