And I have to say, blogging is getting harder and harder. Well, not the blogging part, exactly, but the cooking and photographing part. According to my midwife, my little one should already weigh about 2 kilos, which is almost 4.5 pounds! Add that to the extra weight from my bump, and you can imagine that climbing on chairs to take pictures of food isn’t as easy as it used to be…
Anyway, I thought we’d welcome October with a caramel-related recipe. Because, to me, October means fall, and fall means caramel. And apples. So, a recipe for homemade caramel apple sauce seemed like a good idea!
But wait just one moment. What exactly is caramel apple sauce? You see, it’s not the same as regular apple sauce. Caramel apple sauce is actually made by combining homemade caramel with apple puree. I’ve actually thought about calling this stuff ‘apple caramel sauce’, instead of ‘caramel apple sauce’, because there’s so much caramel involved! Plus, the inspiration for this recipe came from a recipe for banana caramel. However, in the end I decided that ‘caramel apple sauce’ was a better name, as the resulting sauce has more of an applesauce texture than a smooth caramel texture.
I’ll show you! I have photos!
But first, the best thing about this crazy caramel apple sauce is that it’s super easy to make. Like everything I make for the blog, really. What can I say? I like it when delicious things are really easy to whip up. Especially now that I’m pregnant, obviously…
I did make my own apple puree, though. Which is not very difficult – cook apple cubes with a few tablespoons of water until mushy – but if you want to make things really easy for yourself, you can of course use store-bought apple sauce. Just make sure it’s unsweetened! You’ll add plenty of sweetness to it once you mix in the caramel. Oh, and add a bit of cinnamon to it. You’re gonna love yourself for it!
To make the caramel, you’ll need just four things: granulated sugar, a splash of water, a little cream and some unsalted butter. If you’ve made my homemade salted caramel sauce (which is insanely delicious. Especially straight from the jar!) this part of the recipe will look very familiar to you.
Just start by combining sugar and water in a medium-sized, light-colored saucepan. The pan needs to be at least medium-sized (definitely not small!) because the caramel will bubble up quite dramatically once you add the cream and butter, and it needs to have a light color (such as a light metallic) because it makes monitoring the color of the caramel that much easier.
Anyway, gently heat the sugar and water mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup looks clear, then crank up the heat, stop stirring, and allow the sugar syrup to turn into a nice golden caramel. Once you’re happy with the color of the caramel, whisk in cream and butter (hello dramatic sizzle!) and cook for one more minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the unsweetened apple puree.
This is what the sauce looks like right after you’ve added the apple puree. See why I decided to call it ‘caramel apple sauce’ rather than ‘apple caramel sauce’? It’s clearly not quite as smooth as regular caramel sauce…
Which is exactly why I blitzed mine with a stick blender! It’s an optional step, and it doesn’t really make the sauce completely smooth, but since I wanted to use this stuff as a cupcake filling (for which it is great!) I decided that I wanted it to be a bit smoother than it was in its unblitzed, natural state.
Anyway, try this stuff, guys. It’s amazing! It’s sweet and caramely but with a huge apple kick! It’s delicious on its own but, as I said, it also makes a great filling for cakes and cupcakes, like these Caramel Apple Cupcakes. Oh, and I bet it’s great with a lot of savory dishes too. You know, things like roast pork. Yum, yum, yum…
- 320g apple cubes (about 2 large apples, peeled, cored and cubed)
- pinch of ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon of water
- 80g (or ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon of water
- 50ml (or 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) whipping cream
- 40g (or 2 tablespoons + 2½ teaspoons) unsalted butter, cubed
- Combine the apples, cinnamon and water in a medium-sized pan. Cover and place on the stove over medium-high heat, until the water is cooking. Reduce heat to low and cook the apples for 15 minutes, or until tender.
- Remove the lid and cook the apples for another 20 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated and the apples look quite dry.
- Remove from the heat and process with a stick blender to a fine puree. You should have about 200g (or ¾ cup + 1½ teaspoons) of puree. Set aside until needed.
- Add the sugar and the water to a medium-sized, light-colored saucepan. The light color of the saucepan makes it easy to monitor the color of the caramel as it cooks. Heat over low heat, stirring with a metal spoon until the sugar has dissolved.
- Crank up the heat to medium-high and cook to a golden caramel. Don't stir it at this point. The syrup will first start to caramelize at the edge of the pan. Once this happens, you can gently whisk the caramel to get an even color.
- Once you're happy with the color of the caramel, turn the heat down and drizzle in the cream, whisking continuously. The caramel will sizzle and bubble once you add the butter. This is normal.
- Whisk gently and crank up the heat to medium-high again. Add the cubes of butter and whisk to incorporate. Once all the butter has been added, turn the heat down, stop whisking and allow to gently cook for 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the apple puree. Allow the caramel to cool slightly. Serve warm or pour the caramel into a heatproof container, such as a clean jar, and allow it to cool to room temperature. The caramel will keep, covered in the fridge, for about 1 week, although the color may change.