4 sweet apples - peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
cornstarch - optional, for thickening
In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, vanilla, brandy, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.
Cook at a gentle boil until mixture thickens slightly (5-7 minutes).
Add the apples and allow mixture to return to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples break down and are soft, and the mixture thickens (15-20 minutes).
If the mixture does not thicken to your satisfaction, spoon out a few teaspoons of the liquid into a separate small bowl and mix with an equal amount of cornstarch. Whisk until totally combined, and then return to the apples and allow to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Previous step can be repeated until mixture has reached the desired consistency.