Quince applesauce offers an unexpected and welcome depth of flavor to an American favorite.
3/4 cup apple cider or unsweetened apple juice, plus more for thinning
One 1 × 3-inch strip lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
1/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup, depending on taste
2 pounds fresh quince, peeled, cored, and grated (about 7 cups)
2 firm, juicy apples (Fuji, Braeburn, or Pink Lady apples), peeled, cored, and diced (about 3 cups)
Combine the apple cider or juice, lemon rind, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, 1/4 cup sugar, and quince in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Cover and quickly bring to a boil over high heat. Stir often to ensure even cooking. Lower the heat and simmer very gently, covered, for 20 minutes; continue to stir often.
Add the apples. Quickly return to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer and cook, covered, for another 30 minutes, stirring frequently so the fruit doesn’t burn. Discard the lemon rind and cinnamon stick. Use a potato masher to mash and stir the sauce, alternately, until the consistency matches your preference. If a smooth loose texture is desired, transfer to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add additional apple cider or juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the preferred consistency.
Taste for sweetness. Most palates will judge the sauce too tart at this stage; add 1 tablespoon sugar at a time up to an additional 1/4 cup, if desired.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Transfer any unused portion to an airtight container. Keeps fresh for about a week in the refrigerator and freezes well.
YIELD: 4 cups
Note: Recipe may be doubled to increase yield.