Tonight we hosted hubby's colleagues to toast a success in their department and to help people out with processing the abundance of apples out there. The easiest transformation of apples I have found is to make liqueur, and the recipe is dead easy. I did a demonstration for our guests, making a batch and answering questions as we sampled liqueurs from previous years.
Here's my recipe:
Clean and coarsely chop apples. No need to peel, stem or core.
Measure as you chop: for every quart (4 cups) apples, you'll need 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup vodka or brandy (your choice). Place all ingredients in a large jar or bowl (I like to use 4L pickle jars). Mix together and shake or turn occasionally to dissolve sugar (this may take a few days to dissolve completely).
Store in a cool place for 6 weeks. Once the six weeks is up, strain liquid, discard solids, and pour liqueur into sterilized bottles. Let age for another three weeks before using. Enjoy!
If you're interested in other liqueur making recipes, check out this awesome resource: http://www.guntheranderson.com/liqueurs.htm
I made little skewers of Italian sausage meatballs, smoked cheddar and apple wedges as well as fried sage leaves to dip in a liqueur-spiked applesauce. The fried sage leaves are always a hit. I'll have to post a photo when I make them again—this time, I was busy preparing the food right up until guests arrived, and didn't think about photos until the sage was all gone. I just fry it in a generous amount of olive oil for about two minutes, and then sprinkle with sea salt. The applesauce made a nice sweet/salty combo.
Also: for the record, I love doing these kinds of workshops. Anyone interested in doing one should just let me know.