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Wassail

Sugar-roasted apples float in a pool of spiced apple cider and brandy for this traditional wassail recipe. Egg yolks and whites, beaten to a fine foam, provide a delicate creaminess to this traditional English Christmas-time drink.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Drink
Cuisine: English
Author: Jenny McGruther

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 350 F.
  • Take a sharp paring knife or a melon baller, scoop out a hole at the top of the apples at the stem end without fully penetrating the fruit. Continue scooping the core out of the apple until you reach the seeds, and remove them. Then fill each apple with unrefined cane sugar, reserving any leftover sugar. Place the filled apples in a baking dish, and bake them for 45 minutes at 350 F.
  • While the apples bake, pour the brandy and hard apple cider into a pot set on the stove over medium-low heat. Whisk in the powdered ginger and any remaining sugar. Drop in the cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice berries.
  • When the apples have finished baking pull them out of then oven and allow them to rest.
  • Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, and beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl until thick and creamy. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolks, until uniformly combined, but taking care so that the egg whites maintain their loft. Temper the eggs by pouring a half-cup up hot wassail into the eggs and whisking to combine, and then whisk the eggs into the wassail.
  • Strain the wassail through a fine-mesh strainer into a punch bowl or soup tureen to keep it warm. Drop the baked apples into the bowl, and serve warm with a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg.

Notes

Looking for an alcohol-free version? You can substitute sweet apple cider or apple juice for both the brandy and hard cider; however, you might decrease the sugar in this recipe by half.
You can skip the eggs. While eggs are a traditional inclusion in authentic wassail recipes, you can omit them and serve the wassail by simply dropping the roasted apples into the hot brandy and cider.