Facebook were asking for this recipe and I figured it was just easier to post on my blog. So here we go....
First of all, I have to state for the record that I actually do not like applesauce. Of course, I grew up on industrial applesauce where there's no flavor, the texture is gritty and it has a metallic, off-taste to it. It's something I generally avoid.
This recipe, however, has cured me of my aversion to applesauce. It's like chunky apple pie and the taste is out of this world. It blame the cognac.
Basically, you throw everything into the pot and cook it until it breaks down (unless instructed otherwise). If you leave the skins on reddish apples, it will give the applesauce a nice pinkish hue (you can retrieve the skin once the apples break down). I like my applesauce chunky, so I just use a potato masher when everything softens up, I just take out the vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks first. If you like your applesauce more smooth, use a food mill. When it's the consistency you like, add the lemon and cognac. Cooking time will vary depending on the type of apple you use.
4 pounds apples quartered, unpeeled and cored
scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar
generous pinch kosher salt
1 cup water or apple cider (+ more to keep it from scalding)
1 vanilla bean, cut open — cook with apples and remove prior to mashing
2 cinnamon sticks — cook with apples and remove prior to mashing
1 teaspoon lemon zest — stir into finished applesauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice — stir into finished applesauce
1/3 cup Courvoisier, or other cognac or brandy — stir into finished applesauce, cooking for an additional 5 minutes to burn off the alcohol
If you want to can this applesauce, follow basic canning rules and water bath can for 20 minutes (quart) or 15 minutes (pint or smaller). This recipe makes about 3.5 quarts of applesauce.