½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp ground ginger
3 apple (preferably Pippins or Granny Smiths), thinly sliced and cut crosswise into bite-size pieces
1 cup halved kumquats or 2 small seedless oranges, sliced into eighths
3 orange, quartered and seeded
3 3 cinnamon stick
2 tsp whole clove
1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorn
3 Darjeeling tea bag
Cognac or Armagnac (optional)
fresh cranberry (optional)
Combine the cider, brown sugar, ginger, apples, and kumquats in a slow cooker.
Wrap the quartered oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and peppercorns in a large piece of cheesecloth and tie to prevent from opening. Add to the pot, and cook on the lowest possible heat until the apples are completely tender and soft, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Once you are ready to serve, steep the tea bags in the hot cider for 10 minutes. Remove and discard along with the spice packet.
Ladle the cider into mugs with a shot of cognac (if using). Top each cup with some of the apples, kumquats, and cranberries, and serve.
Variation: Stovetop Cider: If you don’t have a slow cooker, follow the recipe using a large pot over low heat and reduce the cooking time to 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Variation: Apple Cider Glaze: A great use for any leftover cider, this glaze makes a delicious finishing addition to pork chops or a ham.
Strain the leftover apple cider to remove any solid bits of fruit or spice. Measure the strained cider, then pour into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. While the cider warms, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cider in a small cup or bowl for every 1 cup cider in the saucepan. Add the cornstarch slurry to the simmering cider and stir until it thickens. Remove from the heat and brush the glaze over a ham or pork chops, or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Reheat gently (don’t let it come to a simmer) before glazing.
Recipe courtesy of Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country by Suvir Saran with Raquel Pelzel and Charlie Burd. Published by Chronicle Books, 2012.