As a kid I loved picking apples in the fall, especially with the promise of homemade cider, pies, and fritters afterward. I have distilled my childhood memories of the apple orchard into this comforting dessert. Adjust and tune spices in the cider to your taste, and let the warm perfume of this aromatic dish fill your home as guests arrive for dinner.
- 8 cups apple cider
- 1 cup light rum (such as 10 Cane rum)
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 cloves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- Zest of 1 orange, peeled with a vegetable peeler
- 1 large piece crystallized ginger, chopped into small pieces
- 4 Braeburn apples, peeled, halved, and cored
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Butter-pecan ice cream
- Pecans, toasted and chopped, for garnish
In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the cider, rum, sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, zest, and ginger to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and add the apples. Bring the liquid to a low simmer and poach the apples for 20 minutes, or until the apples become tender but not soft or mushy.
Remove the apples with a slotted spoon and set them on a plate to drain. Cover and keep the apples warm while you let the cider steep for 10 additional minutes.
Strain the cider through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the cinnamon sticks, orange peel, ginger, and cloves. Cover the cider and keep warm until ready to serve.
Divide the apple halves among 4 bowls. Vigorously whisk the butter into the cider. Pour the warm buttered cider over the apples and top each with a scoop of the ice cream. Garnish each bowl with chopped pecans and serve immediately. (This dessert is best served the day it’s made.) Extra cider can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.