How To Make Victorian Wassail Punch
This warming Christmas drink was originally part of pagan ritual to ensure good health and a plentiful apple harvest, and would have been drunk in midwinter in the apple orchards. By Victorian times, the drink was still one to wish good health but was served to carol singers who were invited into the house to warm themselves with a drink from the wassail bowl. Here's how to make your own Victorian Wassail Punch.
5 small apples
200g light brown soft sugar
1.5 litres cider
3 tablespoons brandy
75g caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 sachet mulling spices
2 cinnamon sticks
3 slices orange
3 slices lemon
1 fresh nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 180C/ Gas mark 4. Wash and core the apples, keeping them whole, and place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Stud each apple with a clove by pushing it through the skin, and place the light brown sugar in the holes in the middle of the apples. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Pour the cider and brandy into a thick-bottomed saucepan and start to heat gently over a low heat. Do not allow it to boil. Add the caster sugar and stir in the ground ginger with a whisk.
- Place the mulling spices and cinnamon sticks in the pan with the cider. Allow to heat through gently for about 25 minutes. Remove the mulling spice sachet.
- Transfer to a heat-proof punch bowl, if using, or serve straight from the saucepan. Float the baked apples and the orange and lemon slices on top of the punch. Top with some freshly grated nutmeg.