Take everything yummy about apple cider and concentrate it to a thick syrup…that’s boiled apple cider, ready to intensify all your apple treats!
Fall into flavor
Autumn is my favorite season, especially in the culinary sense (the other senses also…I love New England fall foliage!). No other season is so identified with flavor…apple, maple, pumpkin, and cranberry all evoke wonderful sights and aromas of pies, cider donuts, cookies…I could go on (yes, we get the picture). So many scotches and bourbons have baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) in their flavor profiles…no wonder I like drinking those spirits!
Apple pies practically scream autumn…all those baking spices mixed with the wonderfully sweet tart taste of apples. But can you make apple pie even better? One way to intensify it lies in a secret ingredient…boiled apple cider. I found the method for making it on King Arthur Flour, and it’s as simple as it sounds…take fresh, unfiltered apple cider and boil it down to make a richly flavored syrup that will add that just-picked apple flavor to your baked treats. Try putting just 1/4 cup into your favorite recipe for apple pie…your friends and family won’t know how you managed to pack so much flavor into a pie crust!
So many uses
Beyond apple pies, there are so many ways to use boiled apple cider. Here are some examples:
- Drizzle it onto cakes, ice cream, pancakes, or oatmeal (like you would maple syrup)
- Make a sweet glaze with powdered sugar for a to drizzle onto muffins or scones
- Make a savory glaze with whole grain mustard to brush on chicken or meat before and after roasting
- Even mix it with water to reconstitute it back into cider…just add 1 tablespoon boiled cider to 3/4 cup water, hot or cold
Then there are the recipes…apple cider caramels, apple cider doughnuts (or you can make muffins), or even Applesauce Oatmeal Bread, just to name a few. I’m telling you, making boiled apple cider is going to take your fall baking to the next level!
Boiled Apple Cider
- heavy-bottomed 4 quart pot
- fine mesh sieve
- 1/2 gal apple cider, unfiltered (organic if possible)
- flavorings as desired, see Recipe Notes
- Bring the apple cider to a boil over med-high heat, then reduce the heat to keep the cider at a simmer (you should see small bubbles as the cider simmers).
- Using a skewer, mark the level of the cider. Continue to mark the level on the skewer each hour.
- Simmer the cider for about 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. During the last hour of simmering, stir every 15 minutes. (see Recipe Notes)
- The cider will be ready when you stir it and dark copper-colored bubbles form, covering the entire surface. You can also check by using your skewer...the cider will boil down to about 1/8 of its original volume. Finally, if you smear a small amount on a plate, it should have the consistency of warm, runny honey. The cider will thicken as it cools, so don't over-cook it.
- Once you've achieved the right consistency, remove the boiled cider from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a mason jar to remove any impurities. You should have about 1 cup of boiled cider.
- Let the jar cool to room temperature, then cover and store in the refrigerator. It should keep indefinately.
Do yourself a favor on a crisp, fall day…boil down some apple cider to have on hand as your secret fall flavor enhancer. Not only will you up the intensity of your favorite apple dishes, you’ll perfume your home with the wonderful scent of apples. Better still, give boiled apple cider as a gift…it’s a thoughtful way of sharing fall with friends and family (be sure to include some how-to-use-it suggestions and recipes). I’m busy planning my fall baking agenda, and I’m sure this delicious secret ingredient will be well utilized…stay tuned!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!