Everyone shortens my name to Ing. Never fails. If they know me for longer than two weeks, Ingrid becomes Ing…or Ingie or Ingy or, in my mother’s case…Engelbert Humperdinck. Imagine how horrified I was when at my sixteenth birthday party she called me that in front of practically everyone I knew. There was no end to the name play after that. It was Ingle this and Ingle that. I’ve learned to just go just with it. Hike Ing, Cook Ing, Fish Ing. So today I’m Wassail Ing. Of course, since I’m also Christmas decorating and wrapping presents, you could say I’m “Jingle Ing all the way”.
Anyhoo…here’s my recipe for wassail. I really wanted to make a traditional version, but since I will be lucky to get my Christmas baking done with the measly amount of eggs my chickens are giving me right now, I had to leave the egg whites out of my Christmas punch. No skin off my back. I don’t find the idea appetizing in the least.
I used Alton Brown’s method of baking cored apples with brown sugar spooned into the center of each, but rather than stirring the whole apples in at the end, I put them through my chinois to press them into the punch. I also simmered the alcohol out of it so that my kids could sip it with us on Christmas Eve. For the adult version, the wine and stout can be quickly heated before the other ingredients are added. I sampled it before simmering the alcohol away and it was heavenly, all warm and spicy.
Ingrid Ients (Ha! Couldn’t resist.):
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 (11.2 oz) bottle of Guinness
1 c. mulled wine (Glühwein) or sweet wine such as sherry or port
The entire peel of an orange
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
5 c. orange juice
An orange for garnish. I used a blood orange for its ruby color. Beautiful!
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Core the apples.
Place them in a baking dish.
Sprinkle the brown sugar into the center of each.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Pour the remaining ingredients, with the exception of the orange juice and orange garnish slices, into a medium saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes to cook out the alcohol if making the nice version, just heat slowly to allow the flavors of the beer, wine, and spices to meld for naughty wassail.
Press the apples into the simmered liquid.
Add the liquid from the baked apple pan.
Pour in the orange juice and stir to combine.
Heat to warm it for sipping. Pour into a heat proof serving dish. I am using a soup tureen that has a cord to keep liquids warm tomorrow night for our Christmas Eve dinner. Toss in the orange slices for garnish.
Yield: 10-12 servings
Note: The final beverage, for those who don’t care for pulp, can be strained through cheesecloth. 2 – 3 cups of apple cider can be substituted for the baked apples.