apples were from each other regarding their various tastes and textures. The trip also inspired me to make one of my favorite treats, hot apple cider. One of my favorite parts of going to the pumpkin patch as a kid was the steaming hot apple cider they'd give out to the visitors, I have many fond memories of me, my siblings, my mom, the cold fall air, and warm sweet cider. I've always loved it, but I never tried to make it myself, until yesterday that is! Yes, I finally ventured into the wonderful world of cider-making. It was marvelous. I'm very pleased with the turn out, and even though it took several hours to make, it was well worth it and I highly recommend making it as a comforting and tasty holiday treat.
9 Gala Apples
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Whole Allspice Pods
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
Cut two 6-inch by 6-inch squares of cheesecloth and rest them on top of each other so that there are two layers of cheesecloth. Place the ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice pods centered on the top of the cheesecloth. Fold up the edges of the cheesecloth, twist, and tie shut with a piece of cooking twine. Set it aside.
Lower the heat to a simmer and allow the mixture to simmer, uncovered, for another two hours. At the end of the two hours, the mixture should look like the photo below. Remove the mixture from the heat and place a large strainer over a large bowl. Carefully pour the cider into the strainer, then remove the strainer from above the bowl of cider and empty the apple pieces into another medium sized bowl. Remove the spice pouch from the apple pieces and discard it. Remove the cinnamon stick from the apple pieces and place it in the bowl of cider.
Cut three 12-inch by 12-inch pieces of cheesecloth and layer them on top of each other. Scoop 1 cup of the apple pieces and place it in the center of the cloth. Fold up the edges to create a pouch, hold the pouch over the bowl of cider, and continue to twist gently until the cider stops dripping out of the pouch. You can also squeeze the pouch with tongs while twisting to get more juice out of the apples, but take care not to tear the cheesecloth. Discard the apple pulp left in the cheesecloth, add another cup of apple pieces to the center of the cheesecloth, and repeat the procedure until all of the apple pieces have been squeezed of their juices.
Pour the cider into a medium sized pot and place it over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter, and stir the cider constantly until it melts. Remove the cider from heat and serve it immediately.