Monday, September 7, 2009

Homemade "Apple Pie" Sauce

Yesterday, my husband and I were walking the dog and commenting how early autumn seems to be arriving this year in Maine. Leaves have already started to change (a month too soon), the sun is setting noticeably earlier, the night temperatures are dropping into the 50's and we're pulling out our long sleeves and jackets from storage again. (Didn't we just put them away last week?) It feels like Halloween could be tomorrow! Even though we haven't done it since our daughter was young, all these sudden seasonal changes gave us the urge to go apple picking, so we did this afternoon and had a wonderful time!

This is first result of that adventure (with many more to come) and it is no ordinary applesauce recipe! It tastes exactly like delicious, homemade apple pie—but without the crust (and the carbs that come with it). It can be served as a dessert, side dish or snack. Since I love the combination of sharp cheddar melted on apple pie, I sprinkle grated cheese over this warm applesauce for a special dessert.

Homemade "Apple Pie" Sauce
(Serves 8)

12 medium baking apples (try to use two different types)
½ tablespoon lemon juice (juice from ½ lemon)
Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
2½ teaspoons vanilla extract (if not using vanilla bean, increase to 4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ to ¾ cup Splenda granular (not baking blend)
1 tablespoon butter

Core and peel apples. Cut into slices and place in a large pan. Add lemon juice and mix until coated. Do not add water. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently. While the mixture is cooking, add vanilla, spices, salt, ½ cup Splenda, butter and stir. Cook until apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher to reach desired consistency, but leave sauce somewhat chunky. Taste and, if too tart, add more Splenda 1 tablespoon at a time until desired sweetness is reached. Serve warm or cold. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Nutritional Information per ½ cup: 103 calories, 23.3 g carbohydrate, 1.6 g total fat, 0.9 g saturated fat, 2.3 g fiber, 0.3 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

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