Parchment paper can make handling this applesauce dessert easier. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

This story was originally published in November 2020.

It is apple season, and Anna Bryan of Holden sent along a recipe she discovered in her grandmother’s collection, neatly typed on a card by Anna’s great-great Aunt Win, who ran a tea-house back in the early middle 1900s. It is the soul of simplicity and a good way to use applesauce, and a bonus is that it’s flourless and just fine for anyone avoiding gluten.

Anna, a baker with 12 years’ experience after beginning at age 10, observed that she harvested apples off old apples trees at the family home in Holden, where she lives now, and has made applesauce, apple crisp, apple pie filling, apple galette, apple pancakes, apple juice, applesauce cake, fresh apple cake and apple cookies. Off hand, I’d say, she’s qualified herself for knowing a good apple recipe when she meets one.

On this one she remarked that she found it “surprisingly tasty,” and I understand what she means: it does taste like it is good for you, and despite being a dessert, suitable for eating at breakfast. I tried it a couple ways, thinking perhaps it might be something you could cut like a bar. Indeed you can, but it doesn’t lend itself to eating with your fingers; best if you get out some forks. And while you are at it, pick up on Anna’s observation that “it was great warm out of the oven with vanilla ice cream” and eat it for dessert.

Anna also added lemon zest and cinnamon, including some cinnamon for the oat crumble portion.

If you use parchment paper at all, this is a good time to get it out and line your baking pan with it. The dessert is easier to handle with the paper.

This applesauce dessert can be cut into squares but is easiest to eat with a fork. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

Applesauce Dessert

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sweetened applesauce
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-by-8-by-2-inch pan or line it with parchment paper.

Mix together oats, sugar, soda, cinnamon and salt.

Cut butter into mixture and blend with fingertips.

Sprinkle half of the oat mixture into the greased pan.

In a separate bowl, mix sweetened applesauce and lemon zest and cinnamon, if desired; spoon applesauce mixture over oats.

Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top. Bake for 45 minutes.

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...