The last few days I’ve had a craving for a hot mug of cider and some much needed time at home and I was lucky enough to make both happen. I had several recipes I wanted to create so to make it easy on myself I made my cider in a crock pot while I worked on everything else. I threw some fresh pears, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and a bit of brown sugar together, covered it with water, and let the slow cooker do the rest of the work, leaving me time to go out for a nice family dinner. When we returned home the entire house was filled with this sugar and spice aroma that reminded me of Christmas and my cider was just about done.
After the straining process and getting most of the pulp out I was left with a pitcher full of crisp, perfectly spiced, and not too sweet pear cider. The pulp actually ended up being an applesauce-like consistency and tasted just as delicious so I was able to make use of that too. It’s the perfect homemade drink to sip during these bitterly cold and windy winter days. And it’s even better when spiked with a shot of rum! 😉
(makes 6-8 servings or 1 pitcher)
6 Bartlett pears, cut in half, stem removed
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups of water or just enough to cover all of the ingredients
Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, cover with a lid, and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours.
When finished cooking, use a wooden spoon to mash the pears against the side of the slow cooker. When it all looks like a bunch of watery mush you’ll know you’re done!
Strain through a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl, pressing on the pulp to get as much liquid out as possible. Discard pear skins, larger bits of pear, and spices.
Strain again using the sieve or cheesecloth to reduce more of the pulp. Save what’s leftover to eat like applesauce, use in baking, or discard it.
Once your cider is strained, transfer to a large pitcher, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve hot with a cinnamon stick garnish and few fresh slices of pear.