Chunky, Spiced Applesauce… with Soused Raisins
|Mixed light and dark raisins||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Brandy/Unsweetened apple juice, thawed apple juice concentrate or apple cider||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs) (apple flavored, imported calvados or domestic applejack)|
|Macintosh apples||20 , scrubbed, dried, each cut into 8 wedges (unpeeled, cored)|
|Golden apples/Anjou or bosc pears||5 , coarsely chopped (peeled, cored)|
|Apple juice||1 2⁄3 Cup (26.67 tbs)|
|Light brown sugar/Dark brown sugar||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs) (adjust sugar as per taste)|
|Ground cinnamon||1 Teaspoon|
|Nutmeg||1⁄2 Teaspoon, freshly grated|
|Pure vanilla extract||1 Teaspoon|
|Table salt||1⁄3 Teaspoon (pinch of)|
1) To macerate the raisins: Place raisins and brandy into a small saucepan and heat gently until brandy comes just to a full simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
2) To cook the Macintosh apples: Place unpeeled Macintosh apple wedges, 1 1/3 cups of the apple cider and the cinnamon stick(s) in an 8-quart nonreactive, heavy-bottomed pot and stir. Cover and bring the mixture to a full simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer the apples until very tender, stirring and mashing frequently, about 15 minutes.
3) To cook the Golden Delicious apples or pears: Place the coarsely chopped apples or pears and remaining 1/3 cup cider in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer (uncovered) and cook just until tender but still textural, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
4) To assemble the applesauce base: Position a medium-mesh wire strainer or a food mill over a large bowl. Transfer the contents of the large pot in batches to strainer or food mill and force apples through into the bowl, leaving the skins and any seeds behind. (A wooden spatula works perfectly when pushing apples through a strainer.) Discard skins and repeat with the remaining cooked apples. Stir in the sugar (to taste), cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla and the macerated raisins, along with the brandy. Fold in the cooked chopped apples (along with any remaining juice). Cool the applesauce to room temperature, divide among four 1-quart jars or plastic containers and secure them with lids. The applesauce will keep perfectly for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
5) To serve: Enjoy the applesauce chilled, at room temperature or slightly warmed.