Recipe Type: Beverage
Serves: 1 pitcher
This traditional wassail recipe features hard cider, sugar-roasted apples, brandy and sweet spices. It is a simple, old-fashioned recipe.
4 small apples
1 cup unrefined cane sugar
1 medium orange
13 whole cloves
2 quarts hard apple cider
1/2 cup brandy
1 tbsp powdered ginger
1 tsp grated nutmeg
6 allspice berries
2 cinnamon sticks
6 large eggs, (separated)
toast, (optional, to serve with)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scoop out the core of the apples without fully penetrating the apple – a melon baller works well. Fill each apple with about a tablespoon of unrefined cane sugar. Place the apples in the baking sheet. Stud an orange with thirteen cloves and place it in the baking sheet. Bake the apples and orange together for forty minutes.
While the apples and orange bake, pour apple cider and brandy into a heavy-bottomed stock pot and warm over moderately low heat. Whisk in powdered ginger and grated nutmeg. Do not bring the wassail to a boil.
Cut a small square of the butter muslin and place allspice and cinnamon into the square; tie with 100% cotton cooking twine and float this sachet of spices in the wassail as it warms.
Beat egg yolks until light in color and set aside. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg yolks into whites, then temper the eggs by slowly pouring one-half cup wassail into the eggs. Remove the spice sachet from the wassail and pour in the tempered eggs. Transfer to a punch bowl. Float baked apples and oranges in the wassail and serve by the mug, topping each much with a small slice of toast if desired.
I love a traditional wassail, and I make it three times a year – on the first day of snow, on the longest night of the year and on New Year’s Eve. And today marks the longest night of the year and the shortest day. We’ll celebrate with wassail and by lighting a candle that will burn all day long and into the dark, dark night. Wassail, like the celebration of the winter solstice, is steeped in ancient tradition and it is that ancient tradition, as you might imagine, that I love – that otherworldly feeling of connectedness to past and future generations all in one heady sip of spiced cider and brandy. So it’s this – a traditional wassail recipe – I offer to you as my yuletide gift and I pray you use it in the very best of health.
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