This recipe starts with a super-spiced apple sauce made right in your own kitchen. The original recipe does not have any added sugar. Here is how it is made:
1. Cut several peeled and cored apples into cubes. Use several different kinds of apples for flavor balance.
2. Put apples, fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and whole cloves into a pot. Add water or apple juice or apple cider into to pot to just barely cover the apples. Heat to boiling. Then simmer for 2 – 3 hours or until apples are fully cooked and easily smashed. Stir every half an hour.
3. Add cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, sea salt, allspice powder, and vanilla extract. Continue to cook for about 30 minutes. Discard whole spices.
4. The quantity of spiced added depends on your taste.
The apple sauce is done. Some people, however, may like it sweeter. The variety of apples used or their ratio may also affect the sweetness of the apple sauce. Normally, sugar or various sweeteners are used to sweeten apple sauce. However, here is a new idea: Use sweet wine.
Which sweet wine? Brandy or rum goes well with apples but it is not sweet. Liqueurs are sweet but it is not easy to find a liqueur whose flavor will match the apple and spices. So why not use sweet wine like a high quality muscat or sauternes? Some such wines even carry an apple flavor to begin with. The result is quite interesting. Divide the wine. Add some before cooking and add the rest 2 – 3 minutes before finishing.