On the Ballymaloe Farm 5 years ago, we planted a 2 acre orchard of cider apples, mainly Dabinett but also Crimson Bramley, Santana, Topas, Delles Bell and Dellinquo. Other varietals grow across the farm, in the walled Garden and adjacent to the aptly named Orchard Cottage.
Mild weather throughout the year allowed perfect growing conditions for Apples across Ireland’s orchards, so having yielded such an abundant crop this year there were endless possibilities of uses for the apples.
Some apples were used to make the delicious Apple Muesli served on the morning breakfast buffet while others made their way into lovely sweet treats to be served on the Ballymaloe dessert trolley. Apple jelly was potted to be served on scones with cream for afternoon tea.
Any remaining apples travelled to The Apple Farm, run by the Traas Family in Cahir, Tipperary. These apples were pressed into a golden bitter sweet apple juice. The apple juice contains a number of locally grown varieties allowing for a very well balanced, delicious and refreshing juice.
At Christmas time it is best enjoyed at Ballymaloe House as Mulled Apple Juice, in a cocktail at the bar or simply enjoyed on its own.
Ballymaloe Mulled Apple Juice recipe
Serves 8 - 16 depending on the size of the glass
1 bottle of pure apple juice 750ml (1¼ pints)
1 bottle water (1¼ pints)
1 orange preferably unwaxed and organic
8 whole cloves
3 small cinnamon sticks
85g (3oz) golden castor sugar
6 all spice or pimento berries
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Wash the orange in warm water and stud the whole cloves, aiming to have 2 cloves in each segment of the orange. Hen cut it into 8 segments and then each segment in half.
Pour the apple juice and water into a stainless steel saucepan, add the sugar and spices and the orange segments. Heat gently. Taste, add more sugar of necessary.
Serve with a slice of orange in each glass