5 to 6 small to medium honey crisp (or Fuji or McIntosh) apples, cored
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 cups Madeira
2 bottles (222 4/10 ounces) London Pride Ale or similar
4 bottles (48 ounces) Strongbow English Cider or similar
1 cup apple cider
12 whole cloves
12 whole allspice berries
2 cinnamon sticks, 2 inches long
2 strips orange peel, 2 inches long
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place apples in a 9-by-9-inch glass baking dish. Spoon light and dark brown sugar into center of each apple, dividing sugar evenly among them. Pour 1 cup water into bottom of dish and bake until tender, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, pour Madeira, ale and English and apple ciders into a large slow cooker or heavy pot. Place cloves, allspice, cinnamon and orange peel into cheesecloth, tie shut with kitchen twine and add to slow cooker or pot along with ginger and nutmeg. Set slow cooker to medium, or place pot over low heat. Gently simmer for about 1 hour, while apples bake, or longer if desired.
Add liquid from the baking dish and stir to combine. Using tongs, transfer apples into slow cooker or pot to garnish. Reduce heat. Ladle hot wassail into heatproof cups to serve.
Yield: 12 servings