Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Wassail

Wassail! wassail! all over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee.

I'm not really a recipe sort of person, leastwise the sort of recipes one longs to share with others, or others covet to learn. I am, however, fond of old folklore, traditions and the like, and love those elements of the winter season. As such, I thought I'd share a classic recipe for wassail, should any irate wassailers come to your door with bowls in hand.

6 small Fuji apples, cored
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
72 ounces ale
750 ml Madeira
10 whole cloves
10 whole allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick, 2-inches long
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 large eggs, separated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Put the apples into an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish. Spoon the brown sugar into the center of each apple, dividing the sugar evenly among them. Pour the water into the bottom of the dish and bake until tender, about 45 minutes.

Pour the ale and Madeira into a large slow cooker. Put the cloves, allspice, and cinnamon into a small muslin bag or cheesecloth, tied with kitchen twine, and add to the slow cooker along with the ginger and nutmeg. Set the slow cooker to medium heat and bring the mixture to at least 120 degrees F. Do not boil.

Add the egg whites to a medium bowl and using a hand mixer, beat until stiff peaks form. Put the egg yolks into a separate bowl and beat until lightened in color and frothy, approximately 2 minutes. Add the egg whites to the yolks and using the hand mixer, beat, just until combined. Slowly add 4 to 6 ounces of the alcohol mixture from the slow cooker to the egg mixture to bring to temperature, beating with the hand mixer on low speed. Return this mixture to the slow cooker and whisk to combine.

Add the apples and the liquid from the baking dish to the wassail and stir to combine. Ladle into cups and serve.

Recipe courtesy the awesome Alton Brown

Wæs þu hæl!


Janet said...

"Drinc hael", Hayley - in response to your toast to my health. The reply means 'drink and be well' - some of my research that I did for my short story.

The recipe sounds yummy and not that difficult. I happen to love mulled wine and this has that same spicy, warm feel to it. I just may try it :)

Hayley E. Lavik said...

Janet, thankfully I'm functional enough, and Anglo-Saxon is logical enough, that I understood your toast. Good to know that university education isn't wasted! :p

Let me know if you do try it.

Karyn Good said...

Great recipe and toast, Hayley. I've never tasted Wassail but I'm very curious as to the favor!

Anita Mae Draper said...

A real cup of wassail before we go awassailing!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Thank you Hayley. It sounds like a wonderful way to warm up the old tummy after a day on the hills.

DebH said...

May I claim ignorance to knowing anything about Wassail?
I had no idea what it was, but it sounds interesting. I guess I'm not up on Christmas traditions as much as I thought I was...

nm8r67 at hotmail dot com

connie said...

Hi Hayley,

I have wondered what wassail is but too lazy to look it up or the thought fell out of my mind like the dressing (which I remembered this year). However, I forgot the turnips to everyone's unmitigated delight.
Back to wassail, anything with apples and spices and brown sugar will draw me faster than fruit flies to a banana.

Angela Sasser said...

Oh man I love this stuff so much! Brenda made a batch one year and I really miss it! Hers was made with orange concentrate and something else I think, but this sounds even more divine! I may have to try it, even if I am too late for Christmas.

Silver James said...

Wassail! Yummmmmmmmmm. Wish I'd had some during the blizzard. As it was, I had to settle for Sangria because that's what was on hand. It worked. ;)

silverjames at swbell dot net *hic*