As a child and teenager I would love to go to Horn & Hardart's restaurants in New York, the famous "Automats". My very favorite dish there was "Warm Apple Pie with Hot Vanilla Sauce".
I re-created this experience with a simple sauce. It can be made in a few minutes. Use it over warm apple pie for guaranteed raves. Of course it's great as a topping for many other dishes (try bread pudding, for example).
In a heavy 1 or 1-1/2 quart saucepan, add the flour to the butter and cook for 2 minutes over medium low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Should it start to get too hot, remove the pan from the heat until it cools a bit (remember, this is a white sauce, so don't let it brown).
On low heat, very gradually add the liquid. You can use anything from low-fat milk to half and half or even cream, depending on how rich a sauce you want. I usually just use 2% milk. Mix in the sugar and the vanilla. Whisk the sauce until it just comes to a boil, then serve.
Serve the apple pie slices warm, in flat-bottomed bowls, with a spoon. Pour on about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the hot sauce and decorate the top with a little sprinkle of cinnamon. Your diners will swoon over this one!
Posted February 1999
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