Vanilla bean and a splash of brandy lift this elegant sauce out of the realm of nursery food. Delicious warm or at room temperature, it’s great as a snack on its own, and it makes a nice filling for a blind-baked pastry shell or for crêpes. Spoon leftovers over French toast. I like to make this sauce with Macouns, or a blend of mostly Braeburns with one or two Golden Delicious.
Put the apples, butter, and water in a heavy saucepan. Tuck the vanilla bean in among the apples, cover the pan, set it over medium heat, and simmer until the apples are completely tender and have cooked to a rough purée, stirring them gently from time to time, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the sugar, stir, and continue cooking uncovered for a few minutes to let the sugar dissolve. Taste the sauce for sweetness; it should be tart-sweet (this is grown-up applesauce, after all), but if you want it sweeter, add more sugar. Stir in the brandy and simmer a few minutes more to cook off a little of the alcohol. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. I like to leave the vanilla bean in the applesauce to steep; remove it before serving.
Make Ahead Tips
The applesauce can be refrigerated for up to a week.
nutrition information (per serving):
per 1/2 cup serving;