I'm sure you've noticed, but it feels like Thanksgiving already. The girls have been enjoying pumpkin smoothie drinks at Jamba Juice, Lulu recently brought home a pumpkin pie from Marie Callender's and we just bought our first fresh cranberries of the season. With the weather getting colder, what could be more appropriate to the season than a hot cup of cider? But instead of making regular ol' apple cider, I added freshly-made pear juice as well.
I used Bartlett pears (with hints of red, they are much sweeter) which were slightly firm so they would easily pass through a juicer. If you prefer a more intense pear flavor, you could use very ripe, soft fruit but I wouldn't recommend using a juicer as it would get clogged easily. Instead, mix them until mushy in a regular blender, then pass the mixture through a large sieve. I didn't opt for this method as I find the texture a little grainy. You can add whatever spices you like, but I opted for the traditional combination of cinnamon, clove and ginger. It's an easy and very satisfying recipe for the weekend!
Servings: 8 servings
13 red Bartlett pears, ripe but still slightly firm
4 Red Delicious apples
1 lemon, freshly juiced
1 (3-inch) chunk fresh ginger (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
Prepping the fruits:
Reserve 1 pear for the cider later. Remove the stems of the apples and pears. Peel the pears. Drizzle with lemon juice to prevent oxidation of the fruit.
In a home juicing machine, combine the ginger (if used), apples and peeled pears.
Apple cider: It's not necessary to peel or core the remaining pear. Cut it into quarters and stud the pieces with cloves. Place them in a large pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, the apple pear juice and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, covered, for about 20-25 minutes, until fragrant. Filter the pear apple cider through a fine mesh sieve or fine muslin cloth.
Assembly time: Warm the pear apple cider when you're ready to serve. Adjust the sweetness if necessary (I didn't add any sweetener).
Ladle the drink into mugs. Decorate with fresh cinnamon sticks.
I served it warm but It could also be served chilled.
I used Red Delicious apples for their very sweet flavor but you can use any other kinds, such as Granny Smiths for a more tart flavor or Gala apples for a sweeter flavor.
I didn't add any sweetener to the drink. Depending on the level of natural sugar in the fruits, you might add a little granulated sugar, honey or syrup.
FYI: 2 apples or pears yield about 1 cup of fruit juice using the Breville juicer. I love this juicer; there's no need for chopping; because the entire apple fits into the chute.
I added apple to the pear cider to give more natural sweetness to the drink and to thin the texture of the liquid a bit.
Last year, I made cranberry apple cider; that version tasted a lot more tart.