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Brunch With the Homesick Texan

Ancho Chile Applesauce

One autumn, my mom was on a business trip in the Northeast, and we decided to meet halfway at a Connecticut farm and go apple picking. It was a crisp, beautiful day and, while there are apple trees on my grandma’s farm, it was fun picking them in a region that is known for its vibrant fall color and fruit.

Loaded with bags of apples and little storage space when I returned to New York City, I knew that I’d have to find a dish that would use some of them. Applesauce seemed like a good choice. I’ve always preferred cinnamon applesauce and decided to make that. And I threw in some ancho chile powder to give it added color, depth, and spice.

This is a wonderful fall dish that pairs well with meat, such as Coffee-Chipotle Pork Chops (page 152), or can be spooned into yogurt for breakfast, as well. Though for me, the best thing about this applesauce is that it reminds me of an enjoyable day with my mom.


1 1⁄2 pounds red baking apples (about 4), peeled, cored, and diced
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine the apples, ancho chile powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cayenne, lemon zest, and water in a pot. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the apples are cooked down to a soft substance, depending on how ripe they are. Gently mash out any lumps. Stir in the brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Taste, adjust the seasonings, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. This dish is delicious served warm or chilled.

Reprinted with permission from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Photography by Lisa Fain.

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