A Wassail is mulled punch, made from a variety of fruits and juices. There is much tradition and history around wassailing, as a ritual to chase evil spirits from cider trees, ensuring a fruitful harvest the following season.
It has become a tradition in our home to have a Wassail simmering on the stove during holiday gatherings or visits from family during the late fall and winter months. We also make it anytime someone has a cold – it packs a Vitamin C punch and chases away the chill. All the best scents of the holiday season simmering on the stove…
Warm and spicy cider based wassail with citrus, cranberry and pineapple.
Large Tea Ball or Cheese cloth, recommended but optional
1/2gallonApple CiderOrganic, Fresh Pressed is best
1cupCranberry-Pineapple Juiceor 1/2 cup of each
1cupCranberriesFresh or Frozen Whole
1eachOrange, sliced in ringsseeds removed
1eachRed Apple, sliced in ringsseeds removed
1each Lemon, sliced in ringsseeds removed
3tbspMulling spicesuse your favorite blend, or see recipe notes
Wash all fruits thoroughly, slice and seed.
Combine all juices and fruits in a 6 quart stock pot.
Place mulling spices in a large tea ball or wrap in cheese cloth tied with a string.
Add mulling spices to stock pot with fruits and juices.
Over medium heat, bring to a low boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
Allow wassail to simmer for 30-45 minutes.
Serve piping hot in mugs or Irish Coffee glasses. Garnish with cinnamon stick and additional fruit if desired.
If you do not have a favorite mulling spice, you can replace the mulling spices 3-4 cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of whole cloves, a 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and a slice of fresh ginger. Use of a tea ball or cheese cloth is optional. Spices can be added directly to the juices if these are not on hand. Recipe can easily be doubled for larger gatherings, use an 8 quart stock pot if doubling the recipe. Leftover Wassail can be strained of fruits and spices and stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator for several days. Reheat individual servings as desired.
A very special friend of mine loves my rum cakes, coconut and pineapple. Each year I make him a birthday cake. This year I decided to combine some of his favorites into a cake and realized I had all the basic ingredients for a classic pina colada.
I start with cake mix and instant pudding mix as this combo has been used by home bakers for years to make very moist bundt cakes. There are many takes on the way you can modify these cakes from simple to a little more complex. Cake mix gives you a leg up on the flour, sugar and leavening ingredients. Pudding mix holds onto moisture and makes a more dense, pound cake like texture. Perfect sized for the classic bundt cake pan. I have one in stoneware that I love, it creates a crispy crust that soaks up the glazes I use, yet keeps the cake moist and dense.
For the Cake 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix (I typically use Betty Crocker) 1 3.4 oz. Box Coconut Cream Instant Pudding Mix 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil (I used the fat that rises in the can of coconut milk) 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk (liquid from canned coconut milk) 1/2 Cup 80 proof Dark Rum 1 1/2 teaspoons of Coconut Extract 4 Eggs 1 Cup Canned Crushed Pineapple, drained. Reserve juice. 1 Cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes
For the Glaze 1 Stick Butter 3/4 Cup Pineapple Juice (reserved from crushed pineapple) 1/2 Cup Sugar 1/4 Cup Rum
For the Icing 2 oz. Butter 8 oz. Cream Cheese 3 Cups Powder Sugar 1 tsp Coconut Extract 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
For the Topping 1 Cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes, toasted 12 Marachino Cherries, stem on, drained`
Instructions for Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a bundt pan.
Add coconut oil and coconut milk to a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer beat until well combined.
Add four eggs and beat until fully incorporated.
Add rum and coconut extract and beat until incorporated.
Add cake mix and pudding mix. Beat on medium speed for 3 or 4 minutes until the batter lightens. The batter may still have some small chunks of coconut oil present, this is fine and will melt in as cake cooks.
Add crushed pinapple and coconut flakes, stir just to blend in.
Pour into prepared bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until golden and cake tester comes out clean.
Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
While oven is still hot toast coconut for topping. Place coconut on a baking sheet and toast for 5 – 10 minutes until golden brown. Check frequently to avoid over cooking.
While cake cools, prepare Glaze and Icing
Instructions for Glaze
In a small saucepan, melt butter on medium low heat.
Add sugar and pineapple juice and cook until sugar dissolves.
Turn off heat and stir in rum.
When cake is completely cool, poke small holes all over cake with fork tines and then slowly spoon glaze over cake a bit at time, allowing the cake to soak up the glaze between each addition until all th glaze is used up.
Proceed to Icing the cake.
Instructions for Icing & Topping
Add butter and cream cheese to a mixing bowl. Beat on high until blended.
Add powdered sugar and beat on medium until smooth and creamy.
Add extracts and beat until incorporated.
Place icing in a pastry bag and pipe onto cake.
Sprinkle icing with toasted coconut. Add marachino cherries in a ring if desired.