Recipes by Mary Reilly | Photos by Dominic Perri
The most traditional way to enjoy hard cider is in a glass, of course. But it can also be a key ingredient in your fall menus.
When selecting ciders for cooking, choose one that you’d enjoy drinking. If you have any hard cider that’s gone flat, it’s a perfect candidate for one of these dishes.
If you’d prefer, you can use sweet cider (nonalcoholic) in place of all or some of the hard cider called for, just note that since it’s sweeter, you will need a little less of it.
Apple Cider Caramel
2 cups apple cider
2 cups hard cider (or use all apple cider if you prefer)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 generous pinch salt
4 ounces (½ cup packed) dark brown sugar
2 ounces (¼ cup) unsalted butter
Pour the ciders in a heavy medium saucepan (about 3–4 quarts). Scrape the vanilla seeds into the cider and add the salt. Boil cider until reduced by half (to 2 cups), about 15 minutes.
Add sugar and butter, swirling the pan to incorporate them. Be careful, as the butter might spatter. Cook until sauce thickens slightly and is reduced to 1½ cups, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes longer. Keep an eye on the sauce, it can go from “slightly thickened” to burned quickly!