I don’t know about you, but when the weather gets colder, and the nights draw in, I like to snuggle up with the family, warm drink in hand, watching something on the telly. I like the warm spices associated with the festive season, (Can you tell I’m trying to avoid saying the C word? Oh who cares…”Christmas”! There, I said it. It’s nearly December after all)
so anything mulled suits me down to the ground.
However, I’m not a massive lover of red wine, so I’ve been looking forward to trying Delia Smith’s recipe for Hot Spiced Cider With Buttered Apples (From her Happy Christmas Book)
I made it last night, and tried some as we settled down to watch Box Of Delights on DVD (remember it from 1984? I don’t, but my husband loved it, apparently. We would have been six back then, but my 7 and 9 YO found it quite scary. It’s very festive….but very strange. Anyway, I digress)
The spiced cider was absolutely delicious! although, if you haven’t got an overly sweet tooth I’d use less sugar if I were you. Make sure you don’t bring it to the boil, otherwise all the alcohol will be evaporated, and you may as well have mulled some apple juice if that happens…
Here’s the recipe (makes about 16 small glasses)
Hot Spiced Cider With Buttered Apples
2.25 litres still dry cider (I accidentally bought sparkling, and it worked just fine)
4 small Cox’s apples, cored (no need to peel)
25g butter, melted
1 Tbsp caster sugar
225g soft brown sugar
24 whole cloves (I used less, as I find too much clove makes it taste ‘medicinal’)
8 cinnamon sticks
16 allspice berries
The juice of 2 oranges
1/2 whole nutmeg, freshly grated
A medium baking sheet, lightly greased.
Preheat the oven to 190, gas mark 5
First, slice the apples into rings (you should get about 16 altogether), then brush each ring with butter and dust with a sprinkling of caster sugar. Place them on the baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes – they should be softened but not floppy.
Meanwhile, put all the other ingredients into a large saucepan and heat the mixture, stirring often, without letting it come to the boil. Finally add the apple rings. Ladle into warmed, sturdy glasses, and put a piece of apple into each one.
You can make this in advance and reheat when needed, as long as you just warm it through and don’t bring up to the boil.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that you shouldn’t let it come up to the boil? I did, oh good.