I love applesauce in all of its forms. Smooth, chunky, unsweetened, sweet, spiced, plain. I don’t think I’ve ever met an applesauce I didn’t enjoy. That means I was excited about this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, Compote de Pommes Two Ways, which is the French way of saying applesauce with two options for the final products, thin or ultra-thick.
I consider myself to be a frugal cook. I don’t mean I’m a cheap cook. I have no problem buying the best quality ingredients or indulging in an unusual ingredient. I just mean I like to make the most of my ingredients. This often means I try to do “nose-to-tail” cooking with whatever I can, including fruits and vegetables. I loved that this recipe started with chopped-up whole apples, skin, cores, seeds, and all. In fact, when I make an apple-intensive dessert like apple crisp, I often make applesauce from the skins and cores alone. It’s amazing how much applesauce the scraps yield.
Last weekend, I made a couple of apple pies for a fundraising event for the new Community Farm I’m involved with. I dutifully saved the peels and cores for applesauce. I also ended up with a few cups of extra sliced apples that had already been tossed with sugar and spices.
When I was ready to make my Compote de Pommes, it occurred to me that rather than weighing out whole apples from the drawer, I should see how much apple parts were leftover from the pie making project. Lo and behold, I had about the two pounds the compote started with. So, that’s what I used as my base.
The apple cooks with a little brown sugar and a small amount of water until the apple is mashably tender. Then everything takes a trip through the food mill. For way #1, you can season this “first press” and call it a day.
I was more intrigued by way #2 where the applesauce cooks down further to because thick and spreadable. You can do this stovetop, but I chose the oven option, placing the pot in a low oven and stirring it every 10 minutes until it reached the desired consistency. After about 50 minutes, it was bedtime, so I decided it was thick enough. If I’d had the time and patience that evening, it could have cooked for even longer.
Finally, the compote de pommes can be sweetened to taste (mine didn’t need it), a generous spoonful of vanilla extract, and a small chunk of butter. I’ve never had applesauce flavored with vanilla, but it was a happy discovery!
Dorie gave various suggestions for serving the compote de pommes. I found it delicious slightly warm, just eaten straight from a bowl. I also remembered making a French Apple Tart earlier this year when I was participating in Tuesdays with Dorie. This is a simple construction of a pastry shell topped with thick applesauce and sliced apples brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar. I had some extra pastry dough in the fridge from the pie making, enough to make a 9-inch tart shell, so that’s what I did. I enjoyed it as much this time as when I made it originally.
In my book (Howard wouldn’t try it), I’m declaring Compote de Pommes a winner this week! To see what the other Doristas thought, follow their links here. I can’t find the recipe online and we don’t post recipes that aren’t already out there, but We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.