In our house this applesauce is the favorite topping for potato and sweet potato latkes. In France some call this mixture apple compote, while others refer to it as apple marmalade. It is actually a thick, chunky version of applesauce. This mixture is said to originate in Normandy, the French province famous for apples, butter, and a powerful apple brandy called Calvados, which some cooks like to slip into their applesauce for extra zest. French cooks do not add water so the apple flavor will be intense.
Chunky applesauce is easier to make than most versions because you don’t need to strain it through a food mill, which is messy to clean. The apples cook quickly because they are cut into thin slices. This delicious applesauce keeps for several days.
When making it, start with the smaller amount of sugar and add more if you wish, according to the sweetness of the apples and, of course, to your taste. If you prefer unsweetened applesauce, use Golden Delicious apples, which are naturally sweet, and omit the sugar. You can make the applesauce with oil instead of butter so it will be pareve.
Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
2 to 4 tablespoons butter or 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds Golden Delicious, Pippin, or Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons strained fresh lemon juice
Grated rind of 1 lemon (optional)
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1. Heat butter in a heavy stew pan or Dutch oven. Add apples and sauté over medium heat, turning pieces over often, 2 minutes or until they are coated with butter. Add lemon juice and grated lemon rind, if using. Cover tightly and cook over low heat, stirring often, 25 to 30 minutes or until apples are very tender. As the apples cook, check the pan from time to time; if it looks dry, add 1 or 2 tablespoons water.
2. Stir in 3 tablespoons sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture is thick and most of the liquid in the pan evaporates. Add more sugar if desired; heat briefly to dissolve it. Serve warm or cold.