Inspired by recipes from Simply Recipes and Food52
3 pounds mixed apples, such as Cortland, Braeburn, Jonagold, Gala and Winesap, peeled and cored
1 1⁄2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen; no need to defrost)
1⁄4 cup light brown sugar
1⁄4 cup white sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground works best)
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1) This applesauce can be made either in the oven or on the stove. The oven method takes much longer, but it produces a silkier, mellower applesauce. If you are pressed for time or for oven space, the stove works well, too.
2) If using the oven, preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
3) Quarter each of the prepared apples, and transfer to a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle the cranberries over the top. Distribute the sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt evenly over the mixture, and wrap the dish tightly with foil. Transfer to the oven, and bake for 30–60 minutes, checking every 10 minutes, until apples are almost entirely soft and mixture is bubbling.
4) Turn the oven up to 500 degrees, uncover dish and bake for 10 more minutes, until some of the liquid has evaporated and a couple of the apples have started to turn brown at their tips. (If they don’t turn brown, it’s okay.) Remove the dish from the oven, transfer the apples to a heat-safe dish, and use a potato masher or a large fork to mash the fruit, keeping some texture or mashing it smooth, depending on your preference. Taste (carefully — it will be hot!), and add more sugar if necessary.
5) If using the stove, simply combine all of the ingredients and 1⁄4 cup water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20–30 minutes until everything is soft and mushy. Mash to your desired consistency, then transfer to a heat-safe bowl to cool. Taste, and add more sugar if necessary.
6) I like this sauce warm, room temperature or chilled. With piping-hot latkes, I like it best just colder than room temperature.