Author Topic: Good Eats Wassail  (Read 2663 times)


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Good Eats Wassail
« on: December 07, 2009, 06:57:32 AM »
We saw this recipe on the hour long "Good Eats" Christmas special in which Alton Brown tackled some more obscure Christmas recipes, namely, wassail, goose (he wimped out and opted for duck instead which I thought was highly disappointing), and sugar plums.  The recipe for wassail was a whiskey tango foxtrot moment: beer, wine, and eggs.  But after considering that the recipe was similar to a recipe for Tom & Jerry that I'd tried a few years ago, I overcame those "ew" feelings and decided to give it a shot.


6 fuji apples
   brown sugar
1 750 ml bottle of madeira
6 bottles of ale (we opted for Abita pecan ale - Southern-style Wassail!)
   sachet of cloves, allspice, and cinnamon stick
6 eggs


0. Preheat the oven to 350.  Core the apples and place them in a baking dish.  Using a funnel, fill the void in each apple with brown sugar.  Add water to the baking dish up to one inch.  Put it in the oven for about 45 minutes.

1. While the apples are baking, gently mix the madeira and ale in a slow cooker.  Add the sachet of spices.  Set the slow cooker on medium.

2. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks.  Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Using the same hand mixer, beat the egg yolks until smooth and slightly lighter color.  Gently fold the egg yolks into the egg whites.

3. Using a ladle, gently add one ladleful of now hot madeira-ale mixture to the egg mixture.  Gently mix to combine, then proceed with a second ladleful of madeira-ale mixture and gently mix to combine.  When combined, add the egg-madeira-ale mixture to the slow cooker.  (This is, of course, called "tempering": the hot mixture is slowly added to the eggs so that they do not cook and curdle, which would happen if you just dumped the eggs into the slow cooker.)

4. When the apples are done, add them to the slow cooker.


Well, that's how the recipe was supposed to go.  In practice, we first plugged the slow cooker into the faulty outlet (because that's where we had counter space while we were cooking) and it came unplugged.  We noticed this after an hour.  So we moved the slow cooker to the other, now free, counter, and plugged it in.  Somehow, it had come unplugged from that outlet as well.  Still tepid.  "Fornicate it", I ordered, and we took the stoneware basin (still containing the tepid wassail mixture) out of the slow cooker and put it right on the burner on the range and let 'er rip.

Well, the eggs certainly cooked and curdled on the stove top after too long, but that didn't stop us from trying it before that point.  It was good, but it was very hard to get over the fact that it was not cider, because that's what my brain was telling me it was supposed to be.  We didn't get enough flavor from the spices because it didn't have enough time to mull.  It just isn't Christmas without cinnamon and clove.

Verdict?  I'd make it again.


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