Sunday, 6 December 2009

Festive Foods: Somerset Mulled Cider

by Charlotte x

Tis the season to warm the cider, throw in some spices and apples and get festive! Seeing as we're all from the West Country and live pretty close to other West Country folk it would be wrong not to include this in our festive repertoire.

OMG this recipe is brilliant. It will be loved by everyone, even non cider drinkers as you can tame down the amount of cider, up the juice and the brandy, whatever takes your fancy... it also makes the house smell amazing! Rach isn't isn't a big hot drinks girl but she cannot say no to this. Of course this doesn't replace mulled wine but goes nicely alongside.

So, I would advise that you make this on a cold day, or a dark day, or a wet day or a Sunday (other days will of course also work well). Sunday night has been a winner at our house - mug of hot spiced cider, newspaper, tv, music, it's great with most things really. Of course, the cider used is not Strongbow as this is a whole other level - quite classy in fact.

Rach and I initially tried it out and invited a couple of people over for a tasty. It was short notice and in the end nobody turned up so we had to consume several mugs each! oops. What's really ace is that it involves baking whole apples with sugar and cider and then throwing them in the pot so essentially you're getting a lot of fruit and goodness out of this recipe. Enjoy.

Makes 12-14 servings
1 litre premium English cider
250ml Somerset cider brandy or calvados
1.5 litres cloudy English apple juice
A thinly pared strip of lemon rind
2 sticks of cinnamon
8 cloves
For the roasted apples
10-12 small Cox’s apples
About 75g light muscovado sugar
100ml premium English cider

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Wash and core the apples and score them around their middles. Put them in a baking dish and stuff the centre of each with the sugar. (It’s easiest to do this with the handle of a spoon or fork). Splash over the cider and roast in the oven until soft and beginning to split (45-50 minutes).

Meanwhile put the cider, cider brandy or calvados, and apple juice in a large pan, together with the lemon zest, cinnamon and cloves. Heat through gently then leave over a very low heat until the apples are cooked without allowing the mixture to boil. When the apples are ready, tip them and their juices into the mulled cider. Taste, adding a little extra sugar if you think it needs it. Serve straight from the pan into heat resistant glasses or cups or transfer to a warmed bowl.