Do you love cranberry sauce as much as I do? We can’t get enough of it around here during the holiday season. I’ve always loved sweet condiments, and as far as I’m concerned, Thanksgiving turkeys NEED cranberry sauce. I save my gravy for the mashed potatoes! And there’s never a reason to use canned sauce. Homemade apple cranberry sauce is not only easy and fast to prepare, but the results taste a million times better than anything from the store. I’m all about cutting corners when it makes sense, but this is not one of those instances. There’s absolutely no excuse not to make homemade apple cranberry sauce. Trust me.
Fresh cranberries have a wonderful sour tartness and crunch that creates an amazing base for this sauce. Sweet Stemilt apples and pears add the perfect balancing complement in terms of both taste and texture, taking this version of the classic sauce to a whole new level. Lemon zest adds a bright, fresh note (without adding more tartness from lemon juice). Chopped pecans, while optional, are a wonderful addition that add crunch and a nutty depth of flavor. Topped off with a bit of ground cinnamon, and this sauce tastes like the holiday season. Check out the recipe and video below!
I like cooking the cranberries for longer than the apples and pears since they start with a firmer texture, and therefore take longer to break down. Apples and pears both cook rather quickly, and I prefer that they retain a bit of their texture when the sauce is finished. It won’t hurt anything if you throw them into the pot at the same time as the cranberries. Both apples and pears will oxidize (turn brown) if you peel and chop them too far in advance. This is one recipe where some oxidation won’t matter, since everything will be a beautiful cranberry hue when the sauce is finished. However, if you’re good at multitasking, you can peel and dice them while the cranberries are simmering in the sugar syrup.
This will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. However, it tastes best within the first few days (I noticed a subtle change after the 3rd day, mostly in texture). I recommend making it up to 48 hours in advance for best results.