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Lamb's Wool

Categories: Beverages, English, Holiday
Yield: 8 servings

6 Apples, baking; cored
2 tb Sugar, brown; up to 1/2 cup
2 qt Cider, sweet; or hard cider
-or a mixture of cider & ale
1/8 ts Nutmeg
1/4 ts Cinnamon
1/4 ts Ginger; ground

"The Feast of Epiphany, also called the Feast of Kings, Twelfth Night, or the last day of Christmas originated in Egypt during the course of the third century. Thus it was a more day than Christmas Day itself. Like Christmas, it was apparently established to compete with a pagan festival , in honor of the Egyptian sun god, celebrated at the winter solstice... In England, Twelfth Night was traditionally celebrated with a delicious drink called Lamb's Wool, made of cider or ale, with roasted apples and sugar and spices. It was the custom to bless apple trees by pouring a libation of cider on them."

"This Old English and Irish punch which dates from the Middle Ages, probably gets its name from the whiteness of the roasted apples as they float in the cider."

Roast the apples in a baking pan at 450F for about an hour, or until they are very soft and begin to burst. (An alternative - and quicker- procedure is to peel and boil the apples until they are very soft and flaky.) You may leave the apples whole, or break them up.

In a large saucepan, dissolve the sugar a few tablespoons at a time in the cider or ale , tasting for sweetness. Add the spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the liquid over the apples in a large punch bowl, or serve in a large heat resistant mugs.

MAKES: 8 1 cup servings Note: Nuts make a nice accompaniment to Lamb's Wool (they were originally roasted in with the apples.)

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