Saturday, October 24, 2009

Making Apple Cider

Apples, apples, apples. It's a good thing there's so many ways to prepare them, because they're going to be a staple for the next few months. In the past few weeks I've made apple/cherry applesauce, baked apples, apple and walnut stuffing, apple and cheddar grilled cheese, squash and apple soup... the list is endless. I bought a peck of Spy apples two weekends ago, and they're disappearing fast from their basket in my closet (I know, weird, but it's cool and dark, perfect for storing apples). It seemed like a large amount at the time, but in retrospect, I could have gone for the bushel.
Last weekend I went to Hart House Farm. It was a delightful chance to get out of the city, and included stealing apples from an orchard (just one!), getting lost on the bruce trail, sitting in the autumn sun next to quarry ponds, and helping make apple cider!

Mulled Apple Cider

4 cups apple cider
2 0r 3 thin slices of orange
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a pot. Over high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove orange slices and cinnamon sticks and serve!

Baked Apples

6 apples
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup melted butter
1/2 cup trail mix (I used a mix with pecans, raisins and sunflower seeds)
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
about 1 cup of apple cider

Hollow out apples - the easiest way I can figure is to cut a cone shape down into the top of the apple, then use a melon baller to take out the rest of the core. Just be sure not to go right through the apple; leave a thin layer at the bottom. Then, use a paring knife to score a circle in the skin around the centre of the apple. This will prevent the apple from bursting through it's skin.

Combine butter and sugar. Add trail mix, cinnamon and salt. Stuff each apple with this mixture. Put apples in a baking pan. Pour over apple cider, until there is about a 1/2 inch of liquid in the pan. Bake for 40 minutes. If you let the apples cool somewhat, the liquid leftover in the bottom of the pan will thicken, making a delicious sauce. I served the apples with plain yogurt. You could be decadent and have them with vanilla ice cream.

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