|Image: Mass Dept of Agriculture|
I took the lot of them -- about seven smallish apples and two big pears -- and cut them down to small bits. I normally leave skins on apples when I cook with them, but I felt like trying to make a saucy sauce, so I peeled them. Also, I usually employ a handy apple corer to start the job, but these were small enough that I thought I should avoid the wastage by taking a couple extra minutes to make and trim small wedges myself.
The assembled bits covered the bottom of our indispensible cast-iron skillet. Over them, I sprinkled about a quarter cup each of granulated white (though the organic stuff is not really that white) and brown sugars, along with a generous sprinkle each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Without stirring, I covered the pan and put it in the oven at 250 for over a couple of hours. (I turned it off when I realized I had to leave the house for a long while; it did not seem to hurt anything.)
Then I added about a half cup of Nicaraguan rum (any rum would do, I'm sure, though I'm fond of the brown, aged rums). I left it uncovered for another hour or two, using a potato masher to squish the fruit after much of the liquid had evaporated. I let it cook down a bit more, and then put it in the fridge until dinner time.
Careful readers of this space will realize that this apple recipe bears a striking resemblance to the Cranberry "Recipe" Recipe (that's not a typo) we posted in October. The differences are that I cooked this a lot longer, and that I eventually did stir (even crush) the sauce. More importantly, I reduced the sugar because apples are sweeter than cranberries and I reduced the rum because I realized that two cups worth required a lot of time to evaporate, and was a bit of a waste.
When cooled, the sauce was a good side dish for our standard sweet potato quesadillas (which do not really need a sauce), accompanied by our White House Honey Brown Ale. I was able to cook the vegetables for the quesadillas in the same pan as the cranberries (barely wiped clean), adding a bit of sweetness to the savory main course.
The sauce itself was deliciously cool, sweet and spicy, though with enough body that it might have served even better as a pie filling.