We’ve reached the point in the harvest season when the apples you picked may be losing their ripeness. If you’re at a loss for what to do with your stock of aging fruit, Tal Ronnen is here to help. The Israeli-born chef and owner of Crossroads, the beloved vegan restaurant in L.A., has made a name for himself by serving up veggie-centric dishes that taste as rich and flavorful as any meat-based entrée.
Now, he's sharing his tried and true recipes, including this deliciously sweet spiked applesauce, in his second-ever cookbook, Crossroads: Extraordinary Recipes From the Restaurant That Is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine ($22; amazon.com). “Cooking sweet and tart apples, cinnamon, a touch of sugar, and a nip of brandy embodies the perfect smell of fall,” he writes in the book. The boozy take on the seasonal purée tastes great spooned over savory dishes like potato latkes (pictured above) or a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream. Read on for the recipe.
Makes: 2 cups
3 Gala or Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp light brown sugar, or to taste
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp brandy
1. Put the apples in a Dutch oven or other large pot set over medium heat and add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally to mash up the apples, until the apples release their juices and completely break down, 20 to 25 minutes. If the apples seem dry, add a few tablespoons of filtered water and continue to cook until tender. Taste the applesauce for sweetness; it should be tart-sweet, but if you want it sweeter, add more sugar.
2. Stir in the brandy (or apple juice) and simmer for a few more minutes to cook off the alcohol. Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon sticks.
3. Mash the apples with a potato masher or puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.