All the good harvest and Halloween food would need to be washed down and an old drink that was drunk is called Lambswool. The name Lambswool is believed to be a corruption of the Irish Gaelic, “La Mas Nbhal” meaning ‘Feast of the Apples’, it was pronounced “Lammas-ool” and this eventually evolved into Lambswool. Various recipes exist for this drink but the bases of it are: Roasted crushed apples, which are added to milk, hot spiced ale, cider and or wine. Sugar is then added according to taste. Bits of toast can be added if desired.
· 1.5 Litres (3 x 500ml bottles) of traditional real ale – or traditional cider
· 6 small cooking apples, cored (Bramley apples)
· 1 nutmeg freshly grated
· 1 tsp. ground ginger
· 3 to 5 oz. brown sugar (demerara) depending on how sweet you like it.
- Preheat the oven 120C
- Prepare the apples in advance: time it so they are ready when you want to put them into the lambswool to serve.
- Core the 6 apples fully, getting rid of the pips. Lightly grease the baking tray. Place the apples on the baking tray about 6cm (2 inches) apart – they will swell up a little. Bake the apples at 120C for about an hour or so – so they become soft and pulpy and the skins are easy to peel away.
- In a large thick bottomed saucepan (which is quite tall to avoid splashes when whisking) add the sugar. Cover the sugar in a small amount of the ale (or cider) and heat gently. Stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved. Then add in the ground ginger and grate in the whole of the nutmeg. Stir, and keeping the pan on a gentle simmer, slowly add in all the rest of the ale (or cider). Leave for 10 minutes on a gentle heat as you deal with the apples.
- Take the baked apples out of the oven to cool slightly for 10 minutes – they should now be soft and pulpy.
- Break open the apples and scoop out the baked flesh into a bowl, discarding the skin. Then take a fork and mash this apple pulp up, while it is still warm, into a smooth purée with no lumps. Add the apple puree into the ale (or cider) lambswool, mixing it in with a whisk.
- Let the saucepan continue to warm everything through for thirty minutes, on a very gentle heat, until ready to drink. When warmed through use the whisk again for a couple of minutes to briskly froth the drink up and mix everything together. The apple will float to the surface, and depending on how much you have whisked it, the more it looks like lamb’s wool.
- Ladle the hot Lambswool ale into heat-proof mugs.