So you went on an apple-picking party, and got a little carried away with the orchard's cider press.
Or maybe the farmer type gets you weak in the knees, and you agreed to more than you can possibly drink, just to buy yourself a little extra eyelash-batting time. Hey, we've all been there. Now you've got a couple of gallons taking up precious space in your fridge. Yes, you can just drink it; every day, at every meal, until it's coming out of your pores. Sometimes too much of a good thing is
a good thing.
So what do you do with all that cider? Well, there are a lot of great ways to use it at your next dinner party. You could make cider doughnut muffins
or classic apple cider doughnuts. Once you get over your fear of frying, you'll never want to stop cranking these puppies out. Serve with easy cranberry–apple cider sorbet : Boil together 2 cups of cranberry juice, 1 1/2 cups apple cider and a 1/2 cup of sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved; add a tablespoon of lemon juice and then freeze in a pan, mushing with a fork two hours in. Freeze overnight, then run through a food processor until smooth.
If you like custard pies, you can't go wrong with the New England standard: boiled cider pie, with or without apples added. Just boil a liter of cider until it's as thick as honey and reduced to one cup, then cool it and mix it with 2 eggs, 3/4 of a cup of milk, 1/3 cup of maple syrup or sugar and 3 tablespoons of flour; bake in a pie crust at 350 for 50 minutes, or until set.
You can also use cider to make a killer barbecue sauce, now that cooler weather makes standing in front of a smoker bearable. This spicy ancho chile version
is dying to get on some pork ribs or chickens. Or you can always skip the sauce and use cider to make a brine for pork chops or tenderloin—just add salt and soak the chops for a few hours, then rinse them off before grilling or broiling. I adore pork chops cooked this way, served with roasted grapes, warm beet salad and buttery polenta.
If you insist that cider is a beverage only, you can always use it as a cocktail mixer. Imagine chilly, rainy toes warming up to a crackling fire and a steaming mug of hot cider, with a sturdy shot of cinnamon schnapps (or store-bought chai, if you're driving) and a blob of dulce de leche
stirred in. After raking leaves and cleaning gutters all sunny Saturday, slake your well-earned thirst with a rustic Mason jar of chilled cider spiked with fine Kentucky bourbon or good apple brandy.
Or you can keep it family-friendly and have it warm and spicy, with a cinnamon stick and some crushed cranberries for added tartness—spouse and kids optional.