[Sca-cooks] 12th Night Feast tentative menu

Michael Gunter countgunthar at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 14 10:30:03 PST 2007

> "Hot apple drink"? Sounds intriguing. Please elaborate? > > Katja
Again, from my period non-alcoholic drinks class:
Syrup of Apples
Take a ratl of sweet apples, those that the common people call sarîj [this might mean "little lamps"], cook them in water to cover until they fall apart and their substance comes out, then clarify it and take the clear part and add it to a ratl of sugar. The bag: an ûqiya of aloe stems, pounded and put into the bag. Cook until it takes the form of a syrup. Drink an ûqiya in two of hot water. Its benefits: it fortifies and gladdens the heart.
In reproducing this I took 5 lbs of a mix of Gala and Braeburn apples, but any sweet apple would do, washed and quartered them. Then put them in a large stockpot and covered with water. I cooked the apples over medium heat for around an hour and a half until they fell apart easily when pressed with a spoon. Once the apples were soft and had given up their juice I poured the mass into a strainer set over another stockpot. I then lightly mashed the apples to give out as much juice as possible but not so much to make an applesauce. The apple remains were discarded. 
In my investigations of aloe I have found it has been used both topically and internally for centuries. The common aloe plant is abundant in the area so just regular aloe stems would work. Unfortunately, among the medical benefits of aloe laxative properties are also noted. I don’t think that steeping crushed stems in the juice would give anyone a case of discomfort, but I would rather not risk it. It was also noted that the pulp of the aloe is very bitter. I feel the aloe was not only included for medicinal benefit but also for the bitterness to balance out the very sweet apple syrup. For this purpose I chose regular tea bags. In the future I will try the crushed aloe to see if there are any ill effects but for my first try and for an item to be distributed to the masses I went with something a little less potent.
I took the juice of the simmered apples, added a half dozen Lipton tea bags and nearly an equal volume of turbado sugar. Then I just left the mixture to reduce over medium low heat over several hours. The end result was a thick dark syrup of intense sweet/bitter flavor. The recipe calls for it to be mixed with hot water and this creates a very satisfying “hot toddy” effect. This is great for a cool evening.
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