To “Wassail” is simply to make a toast, during the years first snow or on New Year’s Eve, or during any kind of Yule celebration. To go Wassailing was to go spreading cheer and singing carols. In even older lore, the spiced cider was made to honor the trees. In wintertime, wassailers would prepare the traditional wassail – soaking pieces of bread, cake or toast in it – and travel from apple orchard to apple orchard in effort to ensure a good harvest for the coming year. Wassail-soaked pieces of bread or toast were then buried at the trees’ roots or hung in the trees’ branches to appease the tree spirits and feed them well until the next harvest.
This wonderful recipe and lore was found on the lovely Nourished Kitchen Blog! Enjoy and be merry!
- 4 small apples
- 1 cup unrefined cane sugar
- 1 medium orange
- 13 whole cloves
- 2 quarts hard apple cider
- ½ 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.