I love grabbing a latke the moment it is taken from a pan, the oil dripping, the crackling sound of the fried potato, and to pour a large dollop of cold apple sauce on top. I love the hot/cold, sweet/savory combination of the two. I decided to make an applesauce this year that would be a bit more complex in flavors than my usual basic sauce. I think it complements rather than overwhelm or contrast with latkes. Apple sauce is so simple to make and since it’s apple season, it’s fun to make it with a range of different ones. The variation in texture and tartness makes a seemingly basic dish more interesting. The spices I used are the same as those in chai tea. If you’re not familiar with chai tea it’s actually a redundant name for tea and is just called “chai” in India. While the English spelling seemingly is a nice double entrendre to the word for life in Hebrew, the ch is not pronounced gutturally but as “ch-eye” and simply means tea. It’s a milky black tea infused with lots of spices and is and drunk by everyone everywhere (often on the go in little clay cups).
2-3 medium/large apples
1 cinnamon stick or 1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 star anise
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp peppercorns
3-5 cardamom pods
1/4 tsp cloves
1-2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 cup water
1 black decaf tea bag
1. Wash the apples and cut into small pieces
2. Place the spices in a mesh bag or loose tea ball. If you don’t have these, just put the spices directly into the pot and remove them at the end of the cooking process.
3. Put the apples, water and spices in a pot.
4. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer, covered. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until the apples are sauce and most of the moisture has evaporated. Put the tea bag in while cooking for only 1-2 minutes at the beginning.
5. Remove from the heat, remove the spices.