What do you do after picking about 50 kilos of apples from a friend’s orchard in September and they are still not finished? You bake an apple pie, you drink fresh apple juice every day (chore: cleaning the juicer) and bake another apple pie. But then there still are so many bags of apples, you really have to think big now. Making cider would be nice, or making a strong apple liqueur – but that is a little bit out of my range of expertise. So there you have it: apple sauce.
Apple sauce (appelmoes) is one of the staples of the Netherlands, especially for young children. They will have apple sauce on almost everything. All your food will go down easily with apple sauce, believe me. My favorite meal as a child, and any Dutch child of my generation I think, was kip, patat en appelmoes: chicken, fries and apple sauce!
To make apple sauce you will need:
Lots of apples (I used about 20)
half a cinnamon stick
some cloves – about 5
some grated nutmeg (if you like)
sugar to taste
the peel of one lemon
Start to peel the apples and core them. I used not to do this and try to get rid of the peels and other bits after boiling the apples; fiddling out the pips and sieving the stuff and so on, but believe me, this is even more choresome then just to peel and core the apples beforehand. (Tip 1)
Then cut the apples in chunks or quarters and put them in a large pot. Add the peel of one lemon, 6 to 7 tablespoons of sugar, your cloves and cinnamon stick and a little bit of water to get things going. Put on the fire and wait for the water to cook, then turn the heat down and put a lid on. Your apples will bubble and start to simmer. Leave on a low fire for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Check now and then to see how your apples are going. When they start to make a plonk-plonk sound and when you peek inside you find the apples have cooked their way up the pan so to speak, rising in a souffle-like manner, the apple sauce is ready. Stir to see if the apples are done. Test a spoonful of the apple sauce to see if it is sweet enough to your liking, stir in more sugar or any other spice if you need to.
Eat either hot or cold, chunky or more smooth. You can whizz the sauce in a food processor if you like smooth apple sauce – I don’t, because I like the chunky bits. They look more home-made this way. What I really like about this apple sauce is the hint of cloves, which is a nice spice with apples, and the lemon peel, which according to my mother is a true must for apple sauce. Enjoy!
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