Happy October! My favorite month. It’s finally cool enough to bake more. It’s time for super fresh apples & tons of pumpkins. And all the best spices are fall-appropriate: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, etc. And let’s not forget that it’s the month of my favorite holiday- Halloween!
(Ironically, the dates are the same this year! Except Columbus Day)
So we’re going to celebrate my favorite month/upcoming holiday & get sauced! Or not. Or actually… yeah we are, but not in the way you think. A different kinda sauced.
Like I said, it’s both apple season & pumpkin season. Everyone is going apple picking, pumpkin picking, & shoving apple cider donuts & pumpkin lattes in their pie hole. You can’t go anywhere without tripping over pumpkins for sale & bushels of apples. So of course I had this big old batch of bright, shiny, fresh apples, right? Apples don’t last forever. So they had to be used up, right? And naturally I’ve already stocked up on organic canned pumpkin. Well…
I made applesauce. I know what you’re thinking:
“Three posts in a row about apples!? BO-RING!”
Yes, I made applesauce. But… it’s not what you think. I had to add pumpkin.
I know. SAY WHAT? APPLESAUCE WITH PUMPKIN?!
Uh huh. Yup.
Gorgeous apples & organic canned pumpkin… together. With cinnamon streusel muffins to go with it.
Blame it on the Food Network magazine.
Blame it on the rain. I don’t know. Blame it on the fact that I can’t keep myself out of the kitchen once the fall comes!
I was reading the October issue of the Food Network magazine & there was a tear-out for 50 ways to use canned pumpkin. They had a lot of great ideas, but one of the most unique ones was this applesauce. I had never seen a recipe for applesauce with pumpkin before, so of course I had to make it. The thing was that there were a million other things I “had” to make (& photograph), so I put it on the back burner. But then I decided to go ahead and make it/post it now.
I think this is an amazing alternative to the regular ol’ applesauce you serve this time of year. Plus, it satisfies all those pumpkin lovers out there as well. You could add a little ground ginger & nutmeg too, if you want. And I know this is thinking wildly far in advance, but… Thanksgiving dinner addition, perhaps?
PUMPKIN APPLESAUCE (from the October 2013 issue of the Food Network magazine)
Total amount made: around 29 ounces- could probably be doubled easily
- 4 apples, chopped & peeled (any variety, but softer ones do work best)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin*
- 3 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Simmer the apples along with the rest of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Stir occasionally, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
- Mash with a fork to remove any chunks that are too big, remove cinnamon stick. If you’re serving immediately, let cool slightly. If not, add to clean jars while hot & store in the refrigerator once cooled.
*Re: the canned pumpkin: it’s totally fine to use homemade pumpkin puree, it would probably just be a bit more watery or loose, so maybe cut down on the additional water by half.
Okay, well… the magazine doesn’t give any directions as far as storage goes, so what I did was I put it into clean, sterilized new jars. Two of which are Le Parfait jars & one of which is a small Weck jar. I followed the directions for canning jams/preserves in those jars; for the Le Parfait jars I filled them then turned the jars upside down for 12 hours, for the Weck jar I filled it & clamped the lid on for the same amount of time. Once the 21 hours was up, into the fridge they went (except for one jar I gave my dad right away). I sealed them because I hate having open jars of anything in the fridge unless it’s being eaten, and also for transport purposes. NOT for shelf storage (more about that later).
Oh and the Le Parfait jars are seriously my latest obsession. I love them.
Like I said, I used McIntosh apples. For me, those are the apples that just “fit” with applesauce. But you can use any kind you like. I’d recommend you use very soft apples for at least 2 out of the 4, though, just because they cook down easier. Unless you want to run it through a food mill or food processor at some point. In which case use whatever apples you want!
By the way, I’m perfectly aware that according to the NCHFP, USDA, FDA & all the other DA’s pumpkin cannot be canned (unless it’s pumpkin cubes processed in a pressure canner). However I was storing them directly in the refrigerator, so the jars not sealing or the warnings about canning pumpkin really made no difference to me. For more information on exactly why it cannot be canned, this is a fairly thorough explanation.
And if you want to be super loved by everyone around you… make some of these cinnamon streusel muffins to serve with it. I know, you’re thinking “applesauce with muffins?” But it’s not just any applesauce- it’s pumpkin applesauce. Hearty & thick & ready to be slathered on a muffin.
Come on. Applesauce, pumpkin & muffins. You can’t go wrong!
CINNAMON STREUSEL MUFFINS
Makes about 12 muffins, can be doubled or halved
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted & cooled
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark- it’s up to you)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or the equivalent in separate spices)
- 1/4 cup quick oats (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400° F and get 12 liners ready in your muffin tins.
- In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir just to combine.
- Make the streusel by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. Use a fork to blend it all together into a crumbly mixture.
- Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling them as much as possible (I fill almost up to the top of the liner). Top with streusel mixture- don’t be shy! The muffins will puff up a decent amount & knock some off while baking, so load it on. You might end up with extra streusel. That’s okay, it can be saved in an airtight container in the fridge for another day if you’d like to make another batch of muffins.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean.
- Remove muffin tin to wire rack; cool 5 minutes and remove from tins to finish cooling. Serve slightly warm or room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
These muffins are addictive- I warn you. Seriously. They also travel well & make great breakfast muffin as well as afternoon snack. This particular pairing is great for lunch!
They’re also completely customizable, so add whatever you want to them. Chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, raisins, etc.