This is a recipe for an Apple Sauce, one of the two sauces I chose to accompany a Slow-Roasted Crispy Pork Belly I also published today.
What sets this sauce apart from your run-of-the-mill, basic Apple Sauce recipes? Starting with a caramel rather than just mixing sugar into the sauce. The result is a distinctly deeper, richer flavour in return for very little extra effort!
This is a bonus recipe (along with Vermouth Jus, also a bonus recipe!) for a sauce to accompany Crispy Slow Roasted Pork Belly, the main recipe for today. The sauce is straightforward as they come, so I’m keeping it short and sweet!
Pork and apple are classic partners on the plate. Apple Sauce is the most popular expression of this pairing and with its sweet-tart flavours seemed a natural choice to team with the pork belly recipe that I also published today.
Most recipes you’ll see for Apple Sauce use a basic method of cooking apples with sugar and sometimes butter, then blitzing until smooth. Adding one extra step of melting the sugar first to form a caramel really takes this Apple Sauce up a notch. The undertones of caramel lend a richer, deeper and almost savoury character to the sauce that makes people stop and wonder,”What is that I can taste in there?” This small outlay of effort really makes all the difference to set your sauce apart, and it’s as easy as throwing sugar in a saucepan and leaving it to turn to caramel!
While I’ve used this sauce for Pork Belly, there’s plenty of wide-ranging and wonderful options for using Apple Sauce. Don’t limit yourself to savoury thinking though. You can spoon this good stuff over anything from pancakes to French Toast, dollop it onto Apple Cake, scones, or dunk muffins into it and smear on to toast!
What goes in Apple Sauce
Just five ingredients are needed for this Apple Sauce! For the apples, I like to use Gala apples. They have a mild, sweet flavour which I think works well for Apple Sauce. However you can really use any variety of apples you want here. Obviously bear in mind that the flavour of the apple you use will dominate the flavour of the sauce. If you like a touch of tart, go the Granny Smith! If you want extra-sweet, go for Red Delicious or Pink Lady!
How to make Apple Sauce
The key step here that sets this Apple Sauce apart from most other recipes is melting the sugar to form a caramel, which creates a beautiful flavour base for this sauce.
Peel, core and cut apples – I cut the apple into quarters then slice it fairly thinly. This size makes them easy to stir and cooks fairly quickly;
Place sugar in a saucepan over low heat;
Leave sugar until it melts into a caramel – Shake the pan occasionally as it melts. Don’t stir, as you risk crystallisation of the sugar. Once it starts melting on the edges, swirl the pot around to get the sugar melting evenly (so the edges don’t burn);
Add the vinegar and apples – Stir and cook apples around 10 minutes until very soft;
Add butter then blitz – Use a stick blender to blitz until the apple is completely pureed. If you have splattering issues, tilt the pan so the head of the stick blender is fully submerged; and
Done! You have made Apple Sauce – ready for infinite possibilities!
What to do with Apple Sauce
I am specifically sharing this recipe as a sauce for Crispy Slow Roasted Pork Belly which I also published today. I felt however Apple Sauce alone left me wanting of a meaty, savoury accompaniment on the plate, so I also added Vermouth Jus which I’ve published as a separate recipe.
Pork belly + Vermouth Jus + this Apple Sauce is a magical combination. It oozes “fine dining” cachet both in looks and in the eating! Yes, it’s a bit of work to assemble but I promise the results are absolutely worth it!
Other uses for Apple Sauce
Roast pork belly aside, there’s many other sweet and savoury options for using this Apple Sauce. Hence the beauty of having this in your repertoire! Here are some ideas:
Great with smoky, fried bacon! Serve a dollop as a condiment alongside a breakfast fry-up. For the more adventurous (ie. not me!!), Apple Sauce is also classic with black pudding / boudin noir.
Topping for ice cream or rice pudding
Mix into granola
Great as a chutney on a cheese board with strong, salty cheeses like blue vein, cheddar, washed rind and so on
Enjoy! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
- 3 gala apples , peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced thinly (Note 1)
- 1/4 cup caster sugar / superfine sugar
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 50g / 3 ½ tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 pinch of salt
- Place sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat. Shake pan to spread sugar. Leave for a few minutes until the edges start melting and turning golden, then swirl the pan to spread the caramel/sugar to encourage even melting (do not stir, sugar may crystallise).
- Once the sugar is all melted, add apple and vinegar. Mix, and cook for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apple is completely soft.
- Add the butter, stir it in until mostly melted. Blitz until smooth using a stick blender (tilt saucepan if needed to ensure head is completely submerged to avoid splattering).
Life of Dozer
He used to love eating apple peel!! Now he’ll only take the sauce 😂