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~ Simply Silky & Smooth Spiced Apple & Pear Puree (Taking grandmother's applesauce to another level.) ~

IMG_5052Does anyone make homemade applesauce anymore?  I ask because I never hear anyone talk about doing it.  I grew up in a time and a place where not only was applesauce homemade, the making of it was an event, and, it was served often.  We stirred it warm into our oatmeal for breakfast and served it chilled as a side-dish to almost any poultry or pork for dinner. We dolloped it on cheddar cheese and crackers for an appetizer and drizzled it over gingerbread for dessert.  There's more.  My grandmother taught me to stir "a tad" into apple pie or apple dumpling mixtures for a flavor and texture that cannot be duplicated by any other means.

IMG_5072This is not my grandmother's or your grandmother's applesauce recipe -- it's better.  My grandmother was living when I started making this puree, about twenty years ago, and she confirmed it -- "This is better than mine," she said, "what's the secret?"  When I told her that creamy-textured McIntosh apples and succulent Bosc pears get simmered together in some sweet white wine with a few chunks of ginger, a clove-studded orange and some cinnamon sticks, being the teetotaler that she was (a person who abstains from all alcohol), she sternly recommended I not tell anyone at the church about the wine.  It was never discussed again!  

IMG_4944My apple and pear puree is one of my favorite Fall things, and, my ritual is to make a big batch of it every Fall.  I freeze it in 2-cup sized containers, to have on hand all year.  There is always a bowl of it on my Thanksgiving table, right next to my very special recipe for cranberry sauce. The ethereal aroma of this simmering on the stovetop takes over my house, and, today's the day!

Did I forget to mention how simple this is to make?

Before getting started note that this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to make larger batches -- that will require a larger 12- 16-quart stockpot.  That being said, once the mixture comes to a simmer, it will still only take 25-30 minutes to cook, so please, do not overcook it!

IMG_49293  pounds, McIntosh apples, slightly more but not less, ripe or slightly over-ripe, unpeeled (about 2 1/2 pounds after coring)

3  pounds Bosc peaers, slightly more but not less, ripe or slightly over-ripe, unpeeled (about 2 1/2 pounds after coring)

1  large orange, about 8 ounces

16  whole cloves

2 ounces fresh, peeled ginger, cut into chunks

1 1/2  cups white wine

1/2  cup firmly-packed dark brown sugar

4  whole cinnamon sticks

6a0120a8551282970b0147e01a6061970b~ Step 1.  Cut the orange into 4 quarters and stud each quarter with 4 whole cloves.  Culinarily, "to stud" or "studding" means to poke the sharp end of each clove through the skin of the orange.  Putting the cloves in the orange makes them easy to find and remove at the end.

Using a paring knife or a vegetable peeler, peel the ginger and chop it into 3/4" - 1" chunks.

IMG_4933~ Step 2.  Quarter the apples and pears, trimming/discarding cores as you work.  Place the apple and pear quarters in an 8-quart stockpot as you work.  Note:  You should do this quickly.  This is not a beauty contest for apples and pears.

IMG_4942~ Step 3. Add the clove-studded orange quarters, ginger, brown sugar and cinnamon sticks.  Gotta love these Fall colors!

IMG_4960 IMG_4956~ Step 4. Add the white wine.  

Using a large spoon, give the mixture 4-5 rough stirs, meaning:  you want to get the mixture roughly coated in the wine and you want the brown sugar to roughly start to dissolve and coat the fruit.  Everything should be roughly mixed and sort of coated. This smells REALLY good already!

IMG_4965~ Step 5.  Bring the fruit mixture to a boil over high heat.  Cover and reduce heat to a very steady but still gentle simmer.  Continue to cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not overcook.  Fruit will be fully-cooked, falling apart and mixture will appear watery.  Great success!

~ Step 6.  Remove pot from heat. Set aside, covered, until completely cooled, several hours to overnight. Overnight is truly best, so do it if you have the time -- trust me!

IMG_4974 IMG_4986~ Step 7. Remove the clove-studded orange quarters and cinnamon sticks from the mixture.  

IMG_4979Remove and add the sweet edible segments from the orange quarters to the fruit mixture.

IMG_4995~ Step 8.  Transfer the mixture, including all of the liquid, to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  With motor running, process to a puree, about 30-45 seconds.  Mixture will be thick and smooth.

Note:  My Cuisinart DLC-X Plus food processor will handle all of this in one batch.  Depending upon the capacity of your food processor, you may have to do this in 2-3 batches. If working in batches, stir them all together in a large bowl before portioning into smaller containers for refrigeration and/or freezing.

IMG_5017~ Step 9.  Portion into food storage containers.  Like other soups and sauces, the puree is going to expand as it freezes, so, be sure to leave 1/4"-1/2" of headspace at the top of each container.  Cover.  

Note:  I use 2-cup size containers and I like to use reusable glass. Refrigerate overnight and up to one week, then freeze for up to one year.  Refrigerating the puree prior to freezing will eliminate the buildup of any ice crystals on the top.

IMG_5020My cure for the common snack attack:

IMG_5083Simply Silky & Smooth Spiced Apple & Pear Puree:  Recipe yields 3 quarts/12 cups.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; paring knife or vegetable peeler; 8-quart stockpot w/lid; large spoon; food processor; 2- or 4-cup size food storage containers w/lids, preferably glass

6a0120a8551282970b0133f64fcc53970bCook's Note:  Applesauce and cranberry sauce both go hand in hand with Turkey Day.  You can find my recipe for ~ A Truly Tart & Triple Delicious Cranberry Sauce ~ in Categories 4, 8, 18 & 22!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)


Cloves "do it for me too" Peter. You're right, the oranges allow it to pair well with Holiday fare. I have 1 quart of it tucked away in my freezer just for Thanksgiving!

as soon as i see cloves in a recipe i'm in..AND the oranges...nice for the Holidays!!!

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