Stewed Apples and Cider
Posted by Bob Skilnik on September 19, 2007
I hate to admit it, but looking out the window, the tell tale signs of fall are beginning to cloak the Chicagoland area. This time of the year, however, gives a reprise on the use of the household air conditioner—and the whopper of an electric bill that comes with the mechanical cooling—and more apples to pick from than any other time of year.
Apples have had a long culinary history in the U.S., actually beginning in the earlier colonial era. Having adapted so well in exploiting the bounty of other local crops, colonists, especially New Englanders, also turned to the pressings of an abundant supply of apples to create a light alcoholic soft cider [cyder] through fermentation, or the stronger apple jack after distillation. Creative drinkers, looking for a little extra kick, would even leave their soft cider outside on cold winter nights to allow it to partially freeze. By siphoning or pouring off that part of the liquid that didn’t freeze (the alcohol), anyone with access to a few apple trees could be awash in high-octane liquor made from benign apples.
So, with that little history lesson in mind, turn off the air conditioner, open up the windows and fill the house with the fragrance of cooked apples and crisp autumn air!
4 to 6 whole cooking apples
(I prefer tart Granny Smith Apples, but you can use any kind that will hold up to cooking).
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup brown sugar (or 1/2 cup brown sugar plus 1/2 cup of dried light malt extract)
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup hard cider
Core and peel apples and repeatedly score the sides of the apples about 1/3 down from the top. Fill the scores the best you can with raisins, place in the bottom of a crock pot and top with brown sugar and dried malt extract, pressing the sweet mixture lightly toward the center of the fruit. Pour the cider over them, seeing that some of the cider goes into each apple center. Cover and cook at “Low” for 3 to 4 hours, or until apples are soft. Serve with excess cider sauce poured over apples. Top with whipped cream, if desired (believe me, you’ll “desire” this addition). Serves 4 to 6.
Johhny Appleseed would be proud!