Caramelized Applesauce

If you roast vegetables, you might not be surprised that roasting fruit has similar results. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of apples and gives this applesauce a deep caramel brown color and rich, naturally sweet flavor.

Storebought applesauce often contains added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. This recipe does not, but if your apples are extremely tart, you may wish to sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over them before you put the pan in the oven. Most commercial applesauce is fat-free. This recipe has a small amount (about 1½ teaspoons per serving) from the butter.

McIntosh apples, which fall apart when you cook them, are a common choice for applesauce. Other varieties that work well include Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Jonagold, and Empire for supermarket apples, or Pink Lady, Northern Spy, and Gravenstein if you have access to a farmers market.

If you like, stir in some cinnamon or toss in a handful of cranberries (fresh or dried). Or replace the apples with pears and add a little grated ginger.

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 to 8 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges

Pinch salt

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy ovenproof skillet or a roasting pan that’s safe for the stove. When the butter begins to foam and turn brown, add the apples and sprinkle with the salt and sugar, if using. Cook, stirring, until the apples start to turn brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 30 minutes. To test, use a wooden spoon and stir. The apples should fall apart into a chunky sauce and the ones on the bottom of the skillet should have a lovely, rich brown color to them.
  4. If you prefer a smooth applesauce, let cool briefly, then transfer to a food processor and purée. The applesauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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