Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spiced Pear Applesauce

We have some apple and pear trees, but the fruit that are produced are not "pretty" things. Well, they're not necessarily the kind of things that you'd look at in a market and decide they're your first choice of fruit to take home with you.

But... strange as it may sound, I still think they're beautiful. They have character.

A raspberry in the same condition would not be beautiful since it's so delicate, but these are apples and pears we're talking about here. It's sort of like "une belle laide" to me- a beautiful ugly woman. Flawed and imperfect, but at the same time beautifully intriguing.

To me, the same goes for fresh figs. They're a little strange looking both inside and out, but at the same time they're gorgeous.

The other day we had a throw-together meal of tomato-y spicy cioppino, fresh, crusty country bread, bleu cheese, and fresh figs. It was perfect.

We don't get fresh figs here in the midwest too often, and I assume most people have never had anything past Fig Newtons, but if you see them you should definitely try them.We do happen to have a fig tree (that travels inside during the winter for protection), but we don't get very many figs.

I think they would make a nice oil painting- any of these fruits alone or together would be a great still-life. Certainly more interesting, natural and individual than plastic and completely and almost impossibly perfect. There's something to see, something to study in a still-life of fruit whether at the art museum or on someone's wall. Have you ever stared at one to take in all the details? It can be amazing to me.

Part of the reason for their imperfection is caused by the landscape. Cedar trees wreak havoc on the apples and pears- they have grey-brown spots staining the skin on the outside.
Because of their imperfections, the fruits aren't the best for just eating out of hand. They still taste good, but you have to peel them and cut them up.

They're organic, that's good.
I made this a couple times since we had a bunch of apples to use. It's a little chunky and apples are always great with grilled or roasted meats!

I think it's best made with red apples which are crisp and slightly tart. However, you can mix and match apples to your liking.
When the applesauce bakes it smells like warm apple cider. A great, spicy, autumn scent fills the house.
If you don't like it quite so spiced, just add less.

Spiced Pear Applesauce
makes about 10 cups applesauce

14 cups firm red apples, peeled and cut into large chunks
5 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 c packed brown sugar
3 T honey
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add all ingredients to an ovenproof 5 1/2 to 6 qt. pot. Cover and bake for 1 hour, remove from the oven and stir/smash with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. Place the pot back in the oven and cook for another 1/2 hour, remove from the oven and stir/smash again. Cover with the lid and let sit for 1/2 an hour and stir/smash a final time. Serve warm or room temperature.
Cover and refrigerate in an airtight container.

* A food processor is definitely an option for making this sauce a little more smooth...


  1. What a fun post this was!
    I like the way that you suggest things I would not think of trying---your posts are always such a surprise to read. There is no predicting just what you might say. You remind me of what mom would've said,"You must at least try everything on your plate!"

  2. She is an artist!