Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Apple-Pear Sauce

Yay, Autumn!

I don't know about you, but while I'll miss zucchini and tomatoes, I'm alright with summer's passing.  Not being outdoorsy, or in school, or wealthy, I just don't get it when people ask me, "How was your summer?"  No one checks in in March and asks how winter went.  We don't summer in the Hamptons, and I haven't had a summer "off" since before 12th grade.  Summer's just a lot of sweating, and mosquito bites, and air conditioning, and trying to find a way to work around the heat (salted radishes for dinner).  

But then there's autumn!  Autumn with it's crispness and calmness and leaves changing color and chasing each other down the street in the wind.  Autumn.  Skirts with sweaters! And autumn is apples and squash and cabbages and greens.  

We got our first load of autumnal fruit in the CSA two weeks ago.   And somehow, didn't jump into high gear eating apples and pears every day.   Time to make sauce. 

Apple-pear sauce is exactly the same thing as applesauce, only pear-ier.  It's a little bit less crisp and somewhat more earthy.   If you can call pears earthy.  I mean, they're not root vegetables. 

Rarely do I post a recipe where there are required tools.  Typically it's like, "mix this using whatcha got," but a wire mesh strainer is key here.  Or a food mill, but I don't have that.

Gather your fruit. 

With a paring knife (or an apple corer, or whatever), core your fruit.  Toss out any bruised or ugly spots.  We'd had these fruit for nearly two weeks, so I lost about a pears-worth in the process.  I started with a pound of pears and two pounds of apples, pre-coring and cleaning. Four pears, five apples.  No idea what kind of apples they are, something from somewhere around here. 

Toss the fruit into a pot, skins and all. 

And add the juice of a lemon. 

Add enough water to just about come up to the top of the fruit and simmer, medium, no boil, for 20 minutes or so. 

When the fruit is soft - and think like, boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes soft - turn off the heat and get your strainer set up over a large bowl.  

Scoop your fruit out of the water and into the strainer - hold on to the water.  Smush through the strainer with a wooden spoon. 

Remove peels from the strainer as you go, just to make it easier for the fruit to pass through the mesh.  Just keep working it with the back of the spoon. 

After it's all passed through the strainer, I like to give it a second pass, so scrape out the skins and what didn't go through, give a rinse and dump the sauce back into the strainer for round two.  If you like it thicker, stop here and don't give it a second strain. 

After two passes, I add back some of the liquid from cooking, just enough to get the texture I want.  I like it pretty fine.   

Sure, you can add sugar and cinnamon and all, but depending on the apples you have, it might be pretty awesome just like this.  You can always reheat it and simmer it with spices before serving, but natural, unsweetened, unflavored sauce is delicious straight up or for baking. 

This recipe is cross-posted at the blog for the South Philly Food Co-op, whose mission is to open a member-owned cooperative grocery store that provides affordable and nutritious food to all residents of South Philadelphia while empowering the local community through sustainable practices, food-centric education, outreach, and community building.  Become a member-owner by filling out the application here

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Apple-Pear Sauce
You don't so much need a recipe, but this is a great way to use the apples and pears that are coming in this season. Ignore the measurements and use what you have.
  • 2 pounds apples
  • 1 pound pears
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lemon
Core the fruit and place it in a large pot.Add water almost to the top of the fruit.Add the juice of one lemon. Simmer medium low, avoiding boiling, until fruit is tender. Work fruit through a metal sieve with a wooden spoon. For finer sauce, take two passes through the sieve and add some reserved cooking water until you have the texture you want.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 servings

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