Oh my. I am not doing a pumpkin challenge again this year, but I cannot resist the orange cuteness that exists in these soft gourds. As if nature created the perfect receptacle for soups, dips and — in this case — homemade applesauce.
I found this recipe in Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cookbook. Her version takes hours longer to make (baking the applesauce first in a dutch oven), but my abridged version still has all the fall-friendly ambiance that you want from apples baking in cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Place the smooshy apples into hollowed pumpkins, then bake, and you have a pretty side dish or dessert in an edible container.
First, you must make my applesauce…
Write Gal’s Smooshy Applesauce
- 5 lbs. apples, mix of Jonagold and gala (or ask the farmer which apples are best for sauce – I used a mixture of those that break down and those that remain chunky)
- Juice and zest of 2 oranges
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- Apple cider
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch cloves
- Pinch salt
Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Add to heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add zest and juice of lemon and oranges. Stir to combine. Add 1 c. apple cider and all the spices and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a bubble. Reduce to simmer and stir occasionally, adding apple cider to prevent it from drying out (note: watch the heat, if the apples begin to brown on the bottom, turn it down). Check for seasonings (it’s always okay to add more spices) – and you’re done! Stored in an airproof container, this will keep at least a week.
Now, for the pumpkins…
- 6 baby pumpkins, hollowed, tops saved (try to find those that are the same size – farmers’ market pumpkins are sweeter and easier to cut)
- Homemade applesauce
Coat rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Get your pumpkins ready…
Sprinkle pumpkins liberally with salt and pepper.
Fill each with reserved applesauce (can be cold).
Then, place the lids lightly on top and roast in a preheated 350 degree oven until sauce is bubbling and pumpkins are tender – around 45 min. The house will smell wonderful! Like both an apple pie and pumpkin pie are baking in the oven.