How to Make Homemade Applesauce

Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce

A true old-fashioned comfort food, homemade applesauce is so simple to make and, best of all, it does not take a lot of ingredients or any unusual ones.  I like to make a big batch of applesauce in the fall when the local apples are fresh in-season and when I can buy, bulk, the different varieties of apples.

Apples
Mixture of Apples for Applesauce

While I have often made good applesauce using only one variety of apple, I have discovered that blending several varieties, each with its own properties, adds wonderful flavour to the sauce.  I like to use at least three varieties, and sometimes four, in my applesauce so I choose varieties known for their sweet, tart, and tangy properties because their flavours play well off of each other.  In the sauce in the photographs in this posting, I have used four varieties – Cortland from the sweet category, Jonagold and MacIntosh from the tart group and, to add a tangy dimension, I added some Honeycrisp.

Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce

You don’t want to use too much liquid when cooking the apples – basically, just enough to keep the apples from scorching as they cook.  The apples, themselves, will release their juices as they cook.  Using too much liquid will make for a very runny, soupy sauce that will lack good consistency. While the applesauce can be made with a little water, using apple juice really kicks the apple flavour of the sauce up a notch.  I use brown sugar in my applesauce and also add some pure maple syrup because I like a rich applesauce and both of these ingredients contribute to the lovely color of the sauce.  I don’t add much in the way of spices because it’s the apple flavour I am looking for.  So, just a small amount of cinnamon and nutmeg is all I add.

Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce

Let the apples simmer away on the stove until they are perfectly soft and mushy.  For chunky style applesauce, simply mash the cooked apples with a potato masher.  If you like a smoother sauce (like the the sauce photographed here), let the apple mixture cool for a bit and then purée it to desired consistency using either an immersion or regular countertop blender.

Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce

This applesauce freezes very well in airtight freezer containers. It’s delightful on its own with a good chunk of cheddar cheese and biscuits warm from the oven.  Applesauce has a multitude of uses, including as an ingredient in my Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins. Of course, it’s a dandy side to porkchop dishes, as well.

Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce with an Extra Sprinkle of Cinnamon

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Homemade Applesauce

Ingredients:

5 lbs apples (e.g., any combination of Cortlands, Jonagold, MacIntosh, Honeycrisp varieties)
1 tbsp lemon juice
¾ cup apple juice (or water)
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg

Method:

Wash, peel, and core apples.  Cut apples into four wedges and then cut each wedge into three to four smaller wedges, depending on the size of apples.

Place apples in large stockpot, sprinkling with lemon juice and tossing gently with a large spoon to coat with the lemon juice.  Add remaining ingredients and stir well.  Place stockpot over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, and stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until apples have completely softened.

Remove from heat and mash apples with a potato masher for chunky-style sauce. For smoother sauce, let apples cool for several minutes and use an immersion blender (or regular countertop blender) to purée apple mixture to desired consistency.

Refrigerate sauce, covered, for up to 3-4 days or freeze in airtight freezer containers for longer storage.

Yield:  Apx. 7 cups

Homemade Applesauce

A combination of sweet and tart varieties of apples are the basis for this delicious homemade applesauce that is simple to make and freezes well.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword applesauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs apples e.g., any combination of Cortlands, Jonagold, MacIntosh, Honeycrisp varieties
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¾ cup apple juice or water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Wash, peel, and core apples. Cut apples into four wedges and then cut each wedge into three to four smaller wedges, depending on the size of apples.
  2. Place apples in large stockpot, sprinkling with lemon juice and tossing gently with a large spoon to coat with the lemon juice. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Place stockpot over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, and stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until apples have completely softened.
  3. Remove from heat and mash apples with a potato masher for chunky-style sauce. For smoother sauce, let apples cool for several minutes and use an immersion blender (or regular countertop blender) to purée apple mixture to desired consistency.
  4. Refrigerate sauce, covered, for up to 3-4 days or freeze in airtight freezer containers for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 7 cups

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Applesauce

Gluten Free Butter Tarts

Butter Tarts
Gluten-free and Lactose-Free Butter Tarts

These old-fashioned butter tarts are actually both gluten free and lactose free.  If you are not lactose intolerant, simply substitute regular butter and milk in the recipe.

Quite some time ago, I shared my traditional butter tart recipe.  However, folks have been inquiring about a gluten-free recipe for the tarts so here it is. I won’t repeat my hints and tips for making butter tarts in this posting because the same ones hold true for the gluten-free version so I am directing readers to my original posting for butter tarts for this information.

Butter Tarts
Gluten-Free and Lactose-Free Butter Tarts

I don’t like a big glob of thick pastry in my butter tarts. As far as I am concerned, it is the gooey, sweet filling that is the star in these tarts.  The pastry is involved just because it is the vessel to hold the filling. So, I use a thin rolled pastry and fit the pastry neatly and tidily into the muffin tin cups.

The pastry, nonetheless, still has to be tender and flaky because it is half the equation in these Canadian culinary delicacies.  The gluten-free pastry recipe is the one that I developed and perfected first for my gluten-free apple pie, originally published to my website on January 11, 2018.  It is now my go-to pastry recipe since it is perfectly tender and flaky and works well with sweet and savory pies as well as tarts.

As with my traditional butter tarts, you will find that the filling is slightly gooey but not too runny.  I don’t care for tarts that, as soon as you bite into them, the filling pours out.  The reason why I like a semi-solid filling is that I believe butter tarts should be able to be picked up off a plate and eaten by hand with no need for a plate and fork to catch a runny filling.  This, of course, is purely a personal preference.

Butter Tarts
Gluten-Free and Lactose-Free Butter Tarts

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-Free Lactose-Free Butter Tarts

Ingredients:

For Pastry:

2 cups (276g) gluten-free 1-to-1 flour
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp sugar

¼ cup cold lactose-free butter (76g)
¼ cup cold lard (76g)

1 large egg
1 tsp white vinegar
Enough water to make 2/3 cup liquid

For Filling:
½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 extra-large eggs, light beaten
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
¼ cup melted butter (no substitutes)
2 tbsp lactose-free milk (2%MF or 3%MF)
1½ tsp pure vanilla
1 tsp white vinegar
Dash salt

Method:

For Pastry:  Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.  In medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together.  Cut the butter and lard into chunks and add to the flour.  With a pastry cutter, cut the butter and lard into the flour until the fats resemble the size of large peas.

In a measuring cup, whisk the egg and vinegar together.  Add enough cold water to measure 2/3 cup.  Add the egg-vinegar-water mixture to the flour, small amounts at a time, and mix with a fork or hands.  Add only enough water that the dough clings together and can be gathered into a ball (it may not take all the liquid).

Divide the dough in four pieces.  Form disk shapes with each piece. Place disks in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes to chill. Remove one disk at a time from the refrigerator and break off chunks, about 2 oz in size, which should give ample for 4” circles to be cut for each tart.  Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper (or wax paper) lightly dusted with flour. Roll pastry to desired thickness, generally between 1/16”and 1/8” thickness. Peel the top piece of parchment from the rolled out pastry. Cut out pastry circles with a floured 4” round cookie cutter.

Carefully transfer each cut out pastry circle to muffin tin cup. Fit the pastry into the cup, ensuring there are no air pockets between the pastry and the muffin cups. Repeat with chilled dough to make enough pastry circles for 12 tart shells, gathering up and re-rolling pastry scraps as necessary.  Place pan of tart shells in freezer for about 12-15 minutes to chill to prevent shrinkage of pastry during baking.

For Filling:  Preheat oven to 400°F.  Add all ingredients, in order given, into a 4-cup measuring cup.  Whisk or stir until ingredients are well blended.  Remove the muffin cups from the freezer and pour filling equally into the 12 muffin cups. Bake at 400°F for 5 minutes then reduce temperature to 375°F and bake tarts for 17-19 minutes or until filling domes and appears set.   Let tarts cool at least 30 minutes in muffin tins on cooling rack.  Using the tip of a sharp knife, gently lift the tarts from the muffin cups.

Yield:  12 tarts

Gluten-Free Butter Tarts

These gluten-free (and lactose-free) melt-in-your-mouth pastries are filled with a delectable, slightly gooey, but not too runny, buttery rich caramel-like filling. A classic Canadian culinary delicacy.

Course Dessert
Keyword butter tarts
Servings 11
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

For Pastry:

  • 2 cups gluten-free 1-to-1 flour (276g)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • tsp sugar
  • ¼ cup cold lactose-free butter (76g)
  • ¼ cup cold lard (76g)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • Enough water to make 2/3 cup liquid

For Filling:

  • ½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 extra-large eggs, light beaten
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup melted butter (no substitutes)
  • 2 tbsp lactose-free milk (2%MF or 3%MF)
  • tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • Dash salt

Instructions

For Pastry:

  1. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups. In medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together. Cut the butter and lard into chunks and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, cut the butter and lard into the flour until the fats resemble the size of large peas.
  2. In a measuring cup, whisk the egg and vinegar together. Add enough cold water to measure 2/3 cup. Add the egg-vinegar-water mixture to the flour, small amounts at a time, and mix with a fork or hands. Add only enough water that the dough clings together and can be gathered into a ball (it may not take all the liquid).
  3. Divide the dough in four pieces. Form disk shapes with each piece. Place disks in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes to chill. Remove one disk at a time from the refrigerator and break off chunks, about 2 oz in size, which should give ample for 4” circles to be cut for each tart. Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper (or wax paper) lightly dusted with flour. Roll pastry to desired thickness, generally between 1/16”and 1/8” thickness. Peel the top piece of parchment from the rolled out pastry. Cut out pastry circles with a floured 4” round cookie cutter.
  4. Carefully transfer each cut out pastry circle to muffin tin cup. Fit the pastry into the cup, ensuring there are no air pockets between the pastry and the muffin cups. Repeat with chilled dough to make enough pastry circles for 12 tart shells, gathering up and re-rolling pastry scraps as necessary. Place pan of tart shells in freezer for about 12-15 minutes to chill to prevent shrinkage of pastry during baking.

For Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Add all ingredients, in order given, into a 4-cup measuring cup. Whisk or stir until ingredients are well blended. Remove the muffin cups from the freezer and pour filling equally into the 12 muffin cups. Bake at 400°F for 5 minutes then reduce temperature to 375°F and bake tarts for 17-19 minutes or until filling domes and appears set. Let tarts cool at least 30 minutes in muffin tins on cooling rack. Using the tip of a sharp knife, gently lift the tarts from the muffin cups.

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Butter Tarts
Gluten-Free Butter Tarts