Monday, October 13, 2008

Lollappleooza 2008: Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce

(Hey you guys! I posted about Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce over at Serious Eats today. It's inexpensive, healthy, and incredibly tasty, so check it out if you get the chance.)

Last year around this time, CHG ran a week-long cooking series called Lollappleooza, during which I posted four or five apple-based recipes, as well as an extensive post on the fruit’s many uses. The idea was spawned by a trip to a Pick Your Own farm, where The Boyfriend and I grabbed enough apples to sink a cruise liner. (And, to our great credit, we didn’t throw any at passing cars.)

This year, we opted to visit Long Island’s biggest corn maze instead of going apple-picking. (Because we're 12.) So, much like its namesake music festival, Lollappleooza has been reduced to a single day. And that day? Is today! (Whee!)

Last night, we had Curried Pork With Apples, a recipe I found on the ever-so-lovely Casual Kitchen. (Look for a larger article soon on Serious Eats.) The Boyfriend’s parents are staying with us, and we scarfed it along with some brown rice, and then had apple crisp and Ben & Jerry’s Cake Batter ice cream for dessert. (Side note: I realize this is as healthy/frugal cooking blog, but exceptions have to be made. So … GO GET THAT ICE CREAM RIGHT NOW. It tastes like an all-natural version of a fake food that’s trying to mimic a baked-from-scratch cake. And it is as TOTALLY DELICIOUS as that description is confusing.)

I also made AllRecipes' Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce for later in the week. As a rule, most applesauce is ridiculously, brain-numbingly easy to make, and this is no exception. Yes, it takes seven hours to cook, but beyond that, it’s basically:
  • peel apples
  • dump in slow cooker
  • add water
  • cook
  • add more stuff
  • cook
  • eat
Not too bad for the results, which are warm and sweet and fruity and all those other good words you associate with autumnal food. (Except maybe "squash-like" and "turkey-esque." It is neither of those.)

As always, there are a few notes if you decide to make the sauce yourself:

1) It’s on the sweet side. Cut a ¼ cup of brown sugar if you’re not crazy about tooth decay.

2) I had very, very small apples, so I ended up using ten instead of eight.

3) My apples were clearly labeled $1.99 for 3 lbs. I didn’t realize until I got home that the store had charged me $3.99. For the sake of my sanity, the calculations reflect the correct $1.99 price.

4) The nutrition numbers are provided by AllRecipes, so only the price is figured out below.

Happy Lollappleooza 2008!

Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce
Makes about 2-2/3 cups of sauce
Adapted from All Recipes.

8 or 10 apples - peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
1/2 cup water
1/2 to 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1) Add apples and water to slow cooker. Turn to LOW and cook betwen 6 and 8 hours. Add sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine. Cook 30 additional minutes.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
159 calories, 0.5 g fat, $0.25

8 apples - peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (about 5 cups): $1.32
1/2 cup water: negligible calories and fat, $0.00
3/4 cup packed brown sugar: $0.34
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice: $0.35
TOTAL: $2.01
PER SERVING (TOTAL/8): 159 calories, 0.5 g fat, $0.25

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TC said...

I do a very very very similar crockpot applesauce recipe (with only a half cup or brown sugar and just cinnamon rather than pumpkin pie spice). The main diff, though, is that I put in the cinnamon at the very beginning. Is there a reason not to put the spices in from the start?

Kris said...

That's an excellent question, TC. I think the sugar's left out because it would burn, but I'm not sure about the spices. Readers?

Danielle said...

What's the difference between pumpkin pie spice and plain cinnamon? Also, does the type of apple matter in this recipe?

Kris said...

Hi Danielle - pumpkin pie spice has nutmeg and ginger in it, and then either cloves or allspice added as well. As far as the apple, it should be a good cooking apple. Red Delicious would not work, but MacIntosh or Cortland would be aces.

Stephanie said...

When I make apple butter in the crock pot. I add the sugar after the apples have started to mush, but add the spices at the very end. I add to taste and wait to the end b/c the amounts aren't always the same. Depends on the kind of apple, how much they've cooked down. I'm not sure if it matters other than that.