Monday, December 21, 2009

Here we go a wassailing, among the leaves so green...

1 gallon apple cider or apple juice
1/2 gallon pineapple juice
Juice of four oranges
2-4 cinnamon sticks to taste
Honey to sweeten the brew if you have a very sweet tooth
2 more oranges, prepared according to the directions below
More cinnamon sticks to use as straws (kids love this)

Mix the first five ingredients in a large saucepan and warm slowly over low heat until good and hot (but not boiling). Cut the top, bottom, and most of the rind off the remaining oranges, ending up with a roughly hexagonal shape. (In my case, a catastrophe.) Squeeze the oranges very gently over the pot to extract some of the juice, then slice them. Just before serving, float the slices in the wassail as decoration. My sloppy slices didn't qualify as decorative in any sense of the word, but the wassail tasted lovely. If you don't mind a little bitterness from the rind, you might try using thin slices with the rind on. It's much tidier and (if you're a klutz like me) prettier that way.

Wassail the trees, that they may bear
You many a plum and many a pear;
For more or less fruit they will bring,
As you do give them wassailing.
                                 --- Robert Herrick


Mrs. Beeton's very nice plum cake:

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