Actually, sour cream does. Sour cream is THE first-place, definitive latke topping. Trick question! But this Honeycrisp Applesauce is also an absolute requirement for any latkes we make. And – bonus! – your house will smell of apples, cinnamon, and vanilla when you make it.
This recipe makes a big batch: about 2.5 quarts. This year, I used 12 honeycrisp apples, which tend to be on the large size as apples are measured. That’s a lot of peeling, but I was fortunate to have just picked up a new vegetable peeler, which was (and still is) nice and sharp. Those apples practically jumped out of their skins.
So, grab your sharpest peeler, a big bowl of apples, and turn on your favorite program to binge-watch. (Maybe The Good Place? Or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?) (Some of these are affiliate links.) Homemade applesauce is totally worth the prep. And once you have the apples chopped, the cooking is mostly hands-off.
I’ve used a variety of apples for applesauce in the past, including Braeburn, Fuji, and Pink Lady. This year, I wanted to get as much natural sweetness from the apples as I could, and use less added sugar. I ended up getting by with just one tablespoon of brown sugar for the entire recipe! That’s not a lot of added sugar at all per serving, so I’m going to continue to enjoy this applesauce as a dessert during Sugar Free January (2018.)
A lot of applesauce recipes call for softer apples because they cook down more easily. Because I prefer a chunky-textured applesauce, I tend to go for more flavorful apples, regardless of texture. More chunks make this applesauce feel more like a dessert dish and less like a sauce. But if you would like your applesauce to be smoother, you could puree it with an immersion blender a few times.
- 12 honeycrisp apples - peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground Vietnamese cinnamon - I like Penzeys
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Peel and core apples. Chop into large chunks. (No need to be particular about the actual size, but it's a good idea to keep them all about the same size.)
- Add apples to a large stockpot with water, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
- Simmer over medium-low heat, covered, for about 20-25 minutes, or until apples are soft and can be broken up with a spoon.
- Add vanilla. Remove from heat. Break up large remaining chunks with the back of a large spoon until the applesauce is the consistency you like. You can also use an immersion blender if you like a smoother consistency.
- Serve warm, or store in refrigerator or freezer. Makes about 2.5 quarts.