This recipe reminds me of making homemade applesauce with my Nana in her kitchen. And the smell of fresh apples cooking on the stove with cinnamon and sugar, I think, is warm and cozy, especially at Christmastime. For beautiful holiday color, I swirl in whole cranberries at the end – they cook just slightly and keep their puckery, tart taste. Fresh bay leaf adds a sophisticated scent and a bright pop of green, while the bit of brown butter give this sauce some soul. I usually make a double batch – one to serve alongside the Brown Butter Sage Turkey Breast; the other to place in small Ball jars tied with ribbon to give as gifts to family and friends.
- 4 medium apples, peeled and diced (I like Macintoch or Macoun)
- 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup Demerara sugar (use light brown sugar if you don't have it)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
Place the apples, lemon juice, water, cinnamon and sugar in a medium size sauce pot. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add the bay leaf. Cook on medium for 25 minutes until the apples break apart and stew together. Stir in the cranberries and continue cooking 5 more minutes. Then take off the heat.
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan or skillet on medium heat. Continue cooking for 2-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until it bubbles and turns an amber brown color - the butter with have a nutty, toasted smell. Add to the apples and cranberries. Stir to combine. Remove the bay leaf.
Serve warm or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
Bring to room temperature before serving.