4 baking apples, peeled with
the stem on
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans, split
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup apple
cider mixture to cover
2 star anise
4 dried allspice berries
Place apples and seasonings
in a large, heavy-bottomed
saucepan (Note: add both
scraped vanilla and scraped pods).
Cover with water and cider, bring
to a simmer for about 25 minutes,
or until apples are soft enough to
be easily pierced with a knife.
Remove apples and seasonings (reserve
seasonings) and bring poaching liquid to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer until 1 cup liquid
remains, and is thick and syrupy.
Serve apples in individual bowls.
Pour poaching liquid over each.
Add seasonings to bowls to
garnish, if desired.