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Roasted Spiced Applesauce

Roasted Spiced Applesauce
I kid you not, this is the most sought out item on our Thanksgiving table.  Applesauce!  Perhaps it's that I only make this version once per year.  Okay, sometimes twice.  But it's first appearance every year is at Thanksgiving.  The kids clamor around the kitchen, eagerly awaiting the bonus-licks left on the bowl and the spoon during its creation.  They shower me with love, affection, and puppy dog eyes in hopes an advance bowl full.  Unsuccessfully.  It's like a game. That I always win. I don't know.  I just love the anticipation.  And the reward of seeing those dreams of buttery apples and spice dancing in their heads come to fruition!

Don't worry (I know you were sweating), I don't deprive them of applesauce throughout the year.  Just this particular version.  It's tradition, after all.  It's not just the kids that ask for this, either...oh no.  I know some adults who quiver with anticipation at the mention of it, as well.  Yours truly, included.  I'm not much for regular old applesauce.  I mean sure, I like it.  But I don't crave it.  This stuff is complex.  It's smooth and buttery and just the scent of it conjures up visions of chilly days and warm blankets.
Roasted Spiced Applesauce
My favorite way to eat it is warm.  It's just as good at room temperature or even cold from the fridge, but just imagine a warm pool of it nestled on a plate amidst your turkey and cranberries and stuffing and potatoes and gravy and green beans and warm dinner roll.  Oh. YES.

yield: 2.5 quartsprint recipe
Roasted Spiced Applesauce

Roasted Spiced Applesauce

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 45 MINStotal time: 55 mins
Apples roasted with warming spices and enriched with butter, then turned into my family's favorite Thanksgiving side dish.


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6 pounds assorted apples, halved
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • a good heap of freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Add water, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt to the bottom of a large roasting pan; stir around a bit. Scatter the butter over the mixture and then top with the apple halves.
  2. ready to roast
  3. Slide into preheated oven and roast until apples are very soft, 35-45 minutes. Move the apples around halfway through cooking time to help with even cooking.
  4. Working in batches, send the apples and all of the juices in the roasting pan through a food mill into a large bowl. Stir in the spices. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  1. If you don't have a food mill, then core the apples before roasting, as well. When they are finished cooking, place them in a food processor with their liquid and process until smooth (in batches, if necessary). Place a sieve over large bowl and press the mixture through the sieve, leaving the skins behind.
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