Wine-Infused Applesauce

Applesauce is one of those things that just can’t be wrong. Store-bought, homemade; cold, hot; dessert, snack; alone, a la mode. I’ve never encountered applesauce that wasn’t just flat-out delicious. It’s kind of like the American version of chutney: used so many ways, and yet always fabulous.

I love warm homemade applesauce. I remember the first time I hosted Thanksgiving and made it with cinnamon and cloves. I served it over vanilla ice cream and my dad asked what it was. But that’s one of the great things about applesauce: it folds itself into so many different forms that you might not recognize it from moment to moment.

This is a grown-up version of the kid’s classic: infused with a sweet wine syrup, it lingers on the tongue. The apples and wine work well together, partly because the apples are so light and the wine is so deep in flavor. Overall, the result is a light dessert that also tastes hearty; a reminder of all the simple things I love about winter: snowflakes stuck to the window, fuzzy boots, walking into the heat from outside.

If you haven’t already noticed, I love cooking with wine. A word of advice: don’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink. I usually have an open bottle of red from the last time someone was visiting (I don’t drink red myself), and use that. You’ll have some wine syrup left over from this recipe. You can pour it over the applesauce, or you can use it on its own as a topper for ice cream or to mix into baked goods. I can already envision adding it to puddle cookies. Yum!

In the meantime, enjoy the applesauce. Preferably when the house is quiet and the fire is crackling. And no one’s there to steal some out of your bowl.