Since I missed to post something solstice-related, here is a Wassail recipe, true to it’s medieval roots.
Wassail comes from the Old English words waes hael, which means “be well,” “be hale,” or “good health.” A strong, hot drink (usually a mixture of ale, honey, and spices) would be put in a large bowl, and the host would lift it and greet his companions with “waes hael,” to which they would reply “drinc hael,” which meant “drink and be well.”(x)
4 small apples
1 cup unrefined cane sugar
1 medium orange
13 whole cloves
2 quarts hard apple cider
1/2 cup brandy
1 tbsp powdered ginger
1 tsp grated nutmeg
6 allspice berries
2 cinnamon sticks
6 large eggs (separated)
toast (optional, to serve with)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scoop out the core of the apples without fully penetrating the apple – a melon baller works well. Fill each apple with about a tablespoon of unrefined cane sugar. Place the apples in the baking sheet. Stud an orange with thirteen cloves and place it in the baking sheet. Bake the apples and orange together for forty minutes.
While the apples and orange bake, pour apple cider and brandy into a heavy-bottomed stock pot and warm over moderately low heat. Whisk in powdered ginger and grated nutmeg. Do not bring the wassail to a boil.
Cut a small square of the butter muslin and place allspice and cinnamon into the square; tie with 100% cotton cooking twine and float this sachet of spices in the wassail as it warms.
Beat egg yolks until light in color and set aside. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg yolks into whites, then temper the egg by slowly pouring one-half cup wassail into the eggs. Remove the spice sachet from the wassail and pour in eggs. Transfer to a punch bowl. Float baked apples and oranges in the wassail and serve by the mug, topping each much with a small slice of toast if desired.