Slow-Cooking Applesauce the ATK Way

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Hi everyone: I'm heading out of town for this and will be back Monday (or Tuesday, depending on how much fun I have.) If you want something additional to read, here's my recap of SYTYCD for the LA Times.


For all recipes in this series, go here.

Hey, lady!

I know, I know -- long time, no letter from me. Mea culpa! I'm sure Will and Kate would have disavowed our friendship by now. I fear that not even my most excellent French Toast Casserole would be enough to smooth things between the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and me: I can only hope for the best. But since that isn't an actual problem of mine at this time, I'll just sit here and wish I could give Kate a bowl (or five) of the bread-y goodness with some applesauce on the side.

What now? Applesauce, I say? Oh, yes -- I made America's Test Kitchen's slow-cooker Applesauce (p. 302), and even got to use a new kitchen toy in the process. Say it with me now -- yay, gadgets!

I can provide a list of reasons as to why living in Southern California is so very awesome, but in this instance I'll just say that our proximity to a variety of delicious fruits, vegetables, and proteins ranks near the top. Case in point: my delectably fragrant Pink Lady apples, which I purchased from the Fair Hills Apple Farm stand at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market (one of the jewels in Los Angeles' food crown and which you must see should you ever visit).

Another beauty that I bought to make this recipe is a rotary apple/potato peeler. I've wanted one for years but was spurred to finally purchase it after watching Top Chef Richard Blais use his to make sweet potato pasta. You saw that, right? Just wondering. I bought my peeler at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Yay, gadgets! It's essentially an oversized old-fashioned pencil sharpener turned into a deadly weapon, which naturally means that I love it. If you're thinking of buying one, be warned that there are many little parts that come with it. I made sure to wash everything in a large bowl filled with warm, soapy water so as to not lose any pieces down the kitchen sink drain.

Before any apples were to be made into sauce, they needed to be broken down, as in peeled, cored, and cubed.

Why do I always pick recipes that require a lot of prep? Answer me that, Claire. [Claire's note: Because I think I suggested this recipe FOR you! D'oh! Sorry, buddy.] I mistakenly thought this recipe with its three ingredients would be different from the Big-Batch Bolognese Sauce or the aforementioned casserole, but I was wrong. I'm chalking up the lengthy prep to my using a new-to-me kitchen tool for the first time: I fussed for awhile just to unscrew everything, and then I ended up leaving the slicing attachment on the peeler when I really didn't need it, which is how I ended up with not-quite cubed pieces. Learning curves are cruel mistresses, yo.

After more fussing with the peeler and securing it into place on the kitchen counter, I got to work.

Whee! was my first thought. My second one was that an awful lot of apple was coming off with the peel (I think that had to do with how I placed the apple on the holder), leading me to conclude that I ultimately wouldn't have the full amount of apples required by the recipe. Oh, well.

It's like an apple peel ticker tape parade!

Apple Slinky! This wasn't how they were supposed to turn out after peeling, but I figured that since everything was going to be mashed into sauce, the apples would cook down fine as long as I chopped them into small enough pieces. Speaking of apples, everything was moving along and I was peeling apples left and right without a hitch. Then this happened:

What a mess. I had not correctly put the apple on the spiky end, which caused it to break down and split into several pieces during rotating. I cleaned everything and chopped up whatever apple shrapnel (shrapple?) remained. Done and done.

Now came the easy part: combining everything! Into the slow cooker went the prepped apples, apple juice, and sugar.

This was the best part of the recipe: it only took four hours to cook. Sure, people will argue that you can go to the store and buy applesauce 20 times in that time frame, but I doubt that any store-brand applesauce looked and smelled as good as this:

This smelled amazing, Claire. So warm, cozy, and inviting. I'd love to have more of this later in the year. Too bad I didn't make enough to freeze.

Please heed the lovely goodness right there. I couldn't wait to try it.

Hello, delicious treat. It was sweet but not cloyingly so, which I appreciated. The splash of fresh ground nutmeg gave it a slightly savory taste: why have I never added it to applesauce before? ATK's applesauce looks much more smooth than mine with its small chunks, but I didn't mind the texture at all. In fact, I rather liked it. I'd make this again with another type of apple (maybe Jonagold?) for tasting comparisons. I'll make sure to buy more apples than what I think I need to make sure I have the recipe's exact amount, as well.

I know you're not going to make any other ATK slow cooker recipes, or are you? Let me know!