Homemade apple-pear sauce filled with the flavor of fresh vanilla bean. Fragrant, sweet, healthy, and delicious!
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I usually don’t make them. I think that anytime is a good time to make a change in life, no need to wait for a new year. That being said, although I’m not “resolving” to eat healthier, I still typically eat lighter during the month of January.
Since the holidays are full of so many indulgences (read: I ate 967 peanut butter cookies over Christmas), come January, my body craves healthier, lighter foods. I’m looking forward to sharing several lighter recipes with you over the next few weeks.
Every Winter I make this Vanilla Apple-Pear Sauce, and my family loves it. It’s sweet, comforting and unbelievably simple. I make quite a few varieties of applesauce, but if I had to choose a favorite, this would be it. This recipe has only 4 ingredients, and it comes together in about an hour. For the minimal amount of effort involved, the payoff is huge.
This version of applesauce includes both apples and pears. The pears add a creamy sweetness that you can’t get from apples alone. What really takes this recipe over the top is the fresh vanilla bean that is simmered with the fruit. The vanilla bean adds a delicate vanilla flavor and aroma to the sauce, plus it fills the sauce with beautiful little black specks of fresh vanilla.
If you’ve never used a fresh vanilla bean before, you must try it. The flavor is rich, smooth, and unparalleled. Vanilla beans can be pricey, but a little goes a long way, and they are well worth the money. You should be able to find vanilla beans at your grocery store – my local Target even carries them.
This applesauce is fantastic on its own – I love to eat it straight from the pot while still warm. But, it also goes great with many other things. Some suggestions:
-Warm and chunky alongside roast pork or chicken
-As a cold side dish at a BBQ
-Poured over vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, for dessert
-Stirred into oatmeal or yogurt, for breakfast
- 4 ripe, firm pears
- 4 sweet apples (see note)
- ¼ cup water, apple juice or pear juice
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Peel and core the apples and pears (see note). Chop into 1-inch pieces.
- Place the apples, pears, water, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 25 minutes, remove the lid and allow the mixture to simmer uncovered for approximately 20 more minutes, until the apples and pears are tender and beginning to fall apart. Stir the mixture occasionally, and add more water (a few tablespoons at a time) if the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove the vanilla bean, and using your fingers, squeeze the remaining seeds into the applesauce, discarding the pod. Use a potato masher to mash the apples and pears into a chunky sauce, or use a blender or food processor to blend it into a smooth sauce.
Occasionally I leave some of the skin on the apples and pears. It adds more nutrients, and a little more texture. I partially peel the fruit, leaving about half the peel on. Peel completely for a smoother sauce.