For whatever reason, moving to a different country has (almost) caused me to forget about my favorite season. I love everything about fall: the crisp weather, the colors of the changing leaves, and of course the food. If it involves pumpkin (and chocolate), count me in.
A classmate and I were talking about how the wildly popular pumpkin spice latte has made its way to France. The sign outside Starbucks announcing the return of the PSL was almost reassuring in a way. Even if you're thousands of miles from home, you can still get your favorite fall beverage! I tend to get one or two each year at the beginning of the season before switching over to the more economical DIY route. This made me realize that in all my trips to the grocery store (and there have been many), I haven't noticed one can of pumpkin. Not one. I'm trying not to panic and in the meantime I decided to make some applesauce. I happened to have four smallish apples on hand but I'd use more if I had them.
Start by chopping your apples and putting them into a saucepan. For me and my French studio-sized "kitchen" this involves awkwardly, and somewhat precariously, balancing a cutting board on top of a microwave. And I thought I had little counter space in my last apartment! You can peel the apples first if you want but I usually don't bother as it all cooks down anyway. Try and remove the seeds and stems, but don't worry if a few sneak in there. You can always use a spoon to get them out later! Add about a cup of water and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. You can also add a little sugar if you like your applesauce sweeter, but I think it's just as delicious without any added sugar. Plus, I don't have a fully stocked pantry here yet. Some recipes call for a dash of vanilla which sounds delicious but I didn't have that either. This is a very basic, no-frills recipe! I promise it's delicious, whether you eat it straight out of the pan like me, stir it into yogurt, or spoon it over vanilla ice cream.
Bring the apple-water-cinnamon mixture to a boil and give it a stir. Side note: Someone from GDF finally came and turned on the gas last week so I now have a fully functioning stove--yay! In France, utilities are not only expensive but they are extremely complicated to set up. And don't even get me started on Internet! Lower the heat and let simmer covered for 1.5-2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so. As the apples begin to soften, use the back of the spoon to mash them.
Above is what mine looked like after about 45 minutes...
And done! As you can see from the photo above, this batch turned out a little watery, which was probably a result of me trying to overcompensate for not having very many apples to begin with. Moral of the story: increase the apple to water ratio.
Compote de Pommes
600 g de pommes (environ 4-6 pommes)
40 cl de l’eau
1 cullière à café de cannelle
Coupez les pommes en morceaux, essayant d’enlever les tiges et les pépins. Vous pouvez enlever la peau mais ce n’est pas nécessaire. Faites bouillir de l’eau avec les pommes, coupées en morceaux, et de la cannelle. Baissez le feu et laissez le tout bouillir doucement pour environ deux heures, mélangeant quelquefois.