For me, the holidays are a time when I put aside my green and herbal teas and turn to more hearty drinks such as chai, hot apple cider and homemade hot chocolate. Recently, as I was making applesauce with apples right from my family’s apple orchard, I got the idea to throw in a few bags of chai tea…which I was drinking simultaneously. What a delicious fall treat it turned out to be!
4 lbs of apples (MacIntosh work well, or any other cooking apple), cored, cut into small cubes, and peeled if preferred
1-1 1/2 cups of apple juice/cider/nectar (more if necessary)
honey to one’s likeness (1/4-1/2 cup)
3-5 chai tea bags
squirt of 1 lemon and its zest
2-3 cinnamon sticks
Cook apples, apple juice, honey, lemon zest and juice, and cinnamon sticks in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the chai tea bags into the apple mixture, immersing in the liquid, being careful not to break them open. Cook until fruit is very tender and broken down, about 45 minutes, adding liquid periodically so that the apples do not get dry, and the tea bags still have some liquid in which to infuse. Once the mixture is quite tender, discard the tea bags and cinnamon stick. Mash apples with a potato masher, or if you prefer a smoother applesauce, pass through a medium-mesh sieve or a food mill fitted with fine disk into a bowl. Enjoy warm or chill before serving!