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Cooked Apples and Pears

Serves 6

I have been making cooked apples for years, as did my mother and grandmothers, usually as a side dish for pork. Occasionally, I serve them as a dessert, adding more of the spices typically found in an apple pie. Recently, I decided to add a couple pears to the pot and we love it. I have tried different varieties of pears, depending on availability, and they all work equally well, as does a combination of apples. This recipe is very versatile, as you can use more or less of any of the ingredients. I usually add more of the spices, especially the cinnamon. Cooked apples and pears can be served alone as a quick, easy and healthy treat, as a topping for ice cream or with your favorite pound or spice cake. For something just a little different and every bit as delicious, see the baked apple chunks in the similar and related recipes.

Ingredients

Scrub the apples and pears and remove the cores. Cut into small chunks and place in a large saucepan. Add the spices and optional honey. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples and pears are very tender, about 20 minutes. If there is too much liquid, remove the lid and cook until the juices have reduced slightly. This can be served warm, room temperature or cold. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Notes: For my family, the natural sweetness of the apples and pears is sufficient. However, you can add some honey, about one tablespoon, if you like sweeter desserts. If in doubt, wait until the fruit has cooked, and taste before adjusting.