11/04/2011 02:24 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Make Applesauce

Making applesauce is incredibly simple, explains chef Bruce Mattel of The Culinary Institute of America. And homemade versions are vastly superior to supermarket brands when it comes to taste. He starts out with 3 Gala apples, which he peels, cores, and dices. (Dice them into fairly small pieces so they'll cook down faster.) He fills a medium saucepan with 1/2 cup of water, then adds 1/4 cup sugar and stirs over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. He adds in the chopped apples, along with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, then cooks the apples down over a medium simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the apples are soft and still slightly chunky. And that's it -- the sauce can be served warm or chilled.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Bruce Mattel from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make applesauce.

We're going to use gala apples today, and what you want to do first is peel the apples; then we're going to dice them, then we're going to get them cooking. I have a regular vegetable peeler, and I'm just going to go around and get the skin off. Now that our apples are peeled, you can cut them in half or quarter them, and then cut them up - or what I like to do is just take a chef's knife and cut them right around the core. I make about two slices, turn and continue. Then I'm going to go ahead and dice up my apples, working with a couple of pieces at once. You want to dice the apples into fairly small pieces so they cook rather quickly because, let's face it, you're just going to make sauce out of them anyway - so keeping them in larger pieces doesn't give you any kind of advantage. If you dice them up, the apples also get softer faster, and it makes the process of making the sauce that much quicker.

Now that the apples are diced, we're ready to cook the applesauce. I'm going to use a medium-sized saucepot, and the first thing I'm going to do is put about half a cup of water in the pot and approximately a quarter cup of sugar; turn the heat on, and let that sugar dissolve into the water. I'm going to stir this with a wooden spoon to make sure the sugar doesn't brown on the bottom. Now we can see that the sugar's pretty much dissolved, so I'm going to add the apples into the pot. Now I'm going to add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon into the apples as they cook, for extra flavor. Make sure they're evenly coated with the sugar and cinnamon. It smells really good!

I'm going to turn the heat down to a medium simmer for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. Some of the apples might break down sooner and some may take a little more time to get soft, so you might have to taste a little piece halfway through the process.

Now that our applesauce has simmered for about twelve minutes or so, it's looking right about where I want it to be. It's pretty much puréed, it's still a little chunky; some of the water has reduced out and it's gotten a little thicker. Now, applesauce is great served warm, but can also be served chilled. I prefer it pretty much at room temperature myself.

And here you have it: nice, fresh-made applesauce.