This mulled ale with cider brandy, spices and baked apples is too good to only enjoy on the traditional wassailing celebrations for Christmas Eve or Twelfth Night. Serve any time over the festive period with the spiced toasts that would traditionally have been floating in the Wassail Bowl.
Servings: 4 glasses
1 litre of ale
30g butter, melted
90g soft brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
1 fruit bun or fruit teacake
a knob of butter
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp granulated sugar
cinnamon sticks for garnish
Preheat the oven to 190C. Run a knife around the equator of three of the apples to make a slit through the skin and sit them in a baking dish. Core the remaining apple, slice into four rings and put those on a baking tray.
Pour 2 tablespoons of the ale over the whole apples. Brush the whole apples and the rings with melted butter and sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Bake for 20 mins (with the apple rings on a higher shelf) or until the rings are light brown and just tender. Take them out and loosen from the tray straight away to stop them sticking. Baste the whole apples and give them another 5 mins in the oven until lightly browned, tender, but definitely keeping their shape. As you take them out baste again and set aside.
Put the ale, cider brandy, ground cinnamon and ground cloves into a large pan. Gently simmer for 5 mins but be sure to not let it boil.
While the wassail is heating make the spiced toasts: Halve the fruit bun, butter each piece and sprinkleover the ground cinnamon mixed with the granulated sugar. Grill for a couple of minutes until caramelised. Cut each piece in half.
Transfer the wassail to a serving bowl and add in the whole baked apples and cinnamon sticks. Ladle out into glasses or cups and and finish each one with a ring of apple. Serve with the spiced toasts alongside.
ALTERNATIVE: use slices of pannetone for the spiced toasts
(This recipe originally featured for Borough Market.)