In a 6 qt heavy kettle or Dutch oven combine apples, water, brown sugar, lemon peel, lemon juice and apple pie spice or cinnamon. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 40 minutes or until the apples are very soft, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla. Mash mixture lightly with the back of a large wooden spoon.