You'll feel smart making this super-easy side dish or dessert. Enjoy chunks of tender, cinnamon-scented apples sweetened with raisins and a bit of sorghum or other sweetener. It smells as good as apple pie, but with fewer calories and a lot less work.
This variation on home-made apple sauce uses what Kate Heyhoe calls "passive boiling" in her indispensable Cooking Green: The New Green Basics Cookbook. I think of it as "coasting." Bring food to a boil in a covered pot, boil for a minute or two if needed, then turn off the burner. Let the pot rest undisturbed. The liquid cools slowly, cooking the food as it goes.
The way Kate describes it, it's not only smart but downright spiritual:
The Zen of the Green Flame = Do nothing.
You've created the energy. Now let it do the work.
This technique is helping me with my new resolution to make everyone happier by serving lunch at noon instead of just starting to think about it then. I take a break around 10:30, get lunch ready, and then work for another hour. By noon, the apples are perfectly tender. Because there the burner is only on for the bare minimum, I save money and reduce my carbon footprint, too.
Smart Stove-Top Apples
Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes, but will wait safely on the stove for up to six hours. Yield: 4 servings, about 1/2 cup each. Gluten-free, no added fat, vegan.
- 4 tart apples, such as Granny Smith
- 1 tablespoon sorghum or brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup water
- Peel and core apples, saving scraps to make homemade apple-cider vinegar if desired. Cut apples into bite-sized pieces and put into a medium pot. Add remaining ingredients to the pot, then stir to coat apples with cinnamon and sorghum.
- Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat. I like to just listen for the boil, but you can look under the lid at this point. Reduce heat to simmer, and let apple mixture simmer for two minutes. Turn off heat and leave the pot on hot burner with the lid on. Do not peek!
- In 20 minutes or any time within 6 hours, check apples for tenderness by poking a chunk or two with a fork. It should glide right through. If apple chunks are still hard, repeat step two, letting the apples coast on the hot burner for about 5 minutes.
- Stir apples gently, just enough to make sure everything is juicy and touched with cinnamon. Serve in small bowls or as a topping for a simple cake. Refrigerate any extra for up to 4 days. Delicious warm, at room temperature, or chilled.