Originally uploaded by allisongryski
Peel 10 red apples (I used Empire apples since they're grown in Quebec, but you should choose whatever kind you like that's grown near you).
Put all the peels in a small pot and just barely cover with water. Add 3-4 whole star anise, 3-4 cloves, some nutmeg, and some cinnamon (probably about 1/4-1/2 tsp each, but I didn't measure). A cinnamon stick would probably be better if you have one. Add some candied citrus peel (I used probably about 1/4 c). I stopped there, but you can add any other spices you think would go nicely with these sorts of flavours (e.g. allspice, mace, lemon zest). You're basically making an apple broth in this pot, so bring it up to the boil, then turn down and simmer (uncovered, so it reduces). After about 15 minutes, the broth should be a deep red colour and the peels should be sort of faded looking.
Meanwhile, back to the apples. Roughly chop them off the cores. Don't worry about having some big pieces and some small, just do whatever's easiest and fastest for you. Toss these all in a large pot and put a bit of water in the bottom. Don't fill it enough to cover the apples or you'll have to spend forever boiling it down to reduce. Grate in some fresh ginger (about 1/2 - 1 tsp worth). Cover this pot and bring it up to the boil, then simmer. After about 10-15 minutes your apples should be nice and soft. Mash them with a potato masher and pour in the apple broth (strained through a sieve to catch all the peels and whole spices). Mix this all up, then return to boiling and reduce until it's a consistency you like. It will get slightly thicker as it cools.
This makes a delicious snack on its own (cold or re-heated), but also a yummy topping on ice cream, pancakes, mixed into porridge, and so forth.