Happy first day of fall! Woot!
I think it’s clear by now; I am so excited and ready for fall. My last two posts have been dedicated to warm and comforting main dishes, perfect for the colder weather moving in. And now, my thoughts have turned to autumn inspired desserts too. I’m a dessert lover for sure, but I’m not really a dessert maker. So when brainstorming ideas for autumn desserts, I wanted something super easy. Enter Apple Pie Sauce. This sauce looks and tastes like the perfected filling of a homemade apple pie, and not only is it simple to make, but it can be easily transformed to make countless desserts. In fact, I came up with this recipe while experimenting with the idea of a Caramel Apple Sundae. But when the Apple Sauce turned out to be insanely delicious, I decided to make it its own post.
I had the apartment to myself on Sunday, which I love because I can really do my thing in the kitchen. So I spent the day listening to country music and making dinner for when Matt returned from watching Sunday Football. Yes, football. It’s that time of year again. Maybe subconsciously that’s why I spent the day making vegetarian chili. Maybe not. Either way, also on the menu were the sundaes. The plan was to make the cinnamon-apple compote, make the caramel sauce, add vanilla ice cream and chopped nuts, done. The homemade caramel I still need to work on. I tried twice, the second time being much better than the first, but still not perfect. In any case, it tasted amazing and that’s all that matters (for now). The whole sundae was insanely good, but the best part by far was the apple compote. It tasted just like my favorite apple pie a la mode, just without the crust. And it’s funny because I’m not the biggest pie fan, so I always eat the filling and leave the crust when eating apple pie. So now, I’ve found my way to enjoy my favorite parts of the apple pie experience. Sweet. Literally.
I also should say that this is technically an apple-pear sauce, not an apple sauce. I decided to use pears in addition to apples for more depth of flavor. I’m so glad I did. But it’s the same process whether you use all apples or all pears, so you can really do whatever you want. I just make sure to use sturdier varieties of apples and pears so that they keep some of their texture. Of course I add cornstarch to thicken it up and finally, another key ingredient, the fresh lemon juice. While I think you could do without any sugar at all because the fruit is so sweet, the lemon juice is essential. It just cuts through the sweetness and adds a layer of tartness. I used a full 1/4 cup of lemon juice in mine because i love love love lemon juice – the more sour, the better. But 2 tablespoons will still do the trick without adding too much of the tartness.
Although I highly recommend making this sundae, I already have ideas for what else I can do with this sauce. I could use it in turnovers, as a festive topper for pancakes and waffles, over plain yogurt, or between the levels of a layer cake. Perfect excuse to go apple-picking. I don’t need an excuse to go apple picking. But if I did, this sauce would be a good one. So without further ado…
Cinnamon Apple Pie Sauce Serves: 6 Start to Finish: 1 hour Yield: 2-3 cups
Ingredients 3 Gala Apples (1-1.1 lbs total), cored and chopped into small bite-size pieces* 2 Bartlett Pears (1-1.1 lbs total), cored and chopped into small bite-size pieces 3 cups Water 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar** 2 tablespoons Corn Starch (look for a non-GMO variety) 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon 2-4 tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice***
Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until the sauce is thick and reduced by half, about 1 hour. With about 10 minutes left in cooking, add lemon juice.
*Use any combination of apples and pears totaling 2-2.25 lbs. When chopping, vary the size slightly to add texture. **You can reduce the sugar to ¼ cup, or no sugar at all, but also use less lemon juice. ***I used 4 tablespoons lemon juice for a tart sauce. Start with 2 tablespoons, taste it, and go from there.