The key to making this versatile kitchen staple is to use a very wide shallow pan during most of the boiling to maximize the evaporative surface area. Also, keep a very close eye on the boil at the end, as it is easy for the syrup to boil over or burn if you get distracted! Cider syrup is both sweet and tangy, it can be used for a wide variety of both sweet and savory cooking and baking.
- Yield: 1 pint
- 1 gallon sweet cider
- Pour the cider into a wide pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- When the cider starts to boil and “breaks” (separates into a clear liquid with floating brown solids), remove the brown solids with a screen-type skimmer or strain the cider through a tight cloth, such as muslin. You can skip this step, but the syrup will be murky, though still delicious.
- Return the clear cider to the pan and continue cooking until it reaches a syrupy consistency (on a candy thermometer, that’s 220°F/104°C for a light syrup or 225°F/107°C for a thicker, more caramelized syrup). When the syrup is mostly reduced, it is helpful to transfer it to a smaller saucepan in order to increase its depth in the pan, so that you can immerse the thermometer enough to get an accurate reading. Keep your eye on the pan and reduce the heat at the end, or you might end up with a boil-over and a sticky stove to clean!
- Pour the syrup into a clean, sterile, widemouthed jar and cap while piping hot. It will keep nearly forever in the refrigerator, but if you are going to use it within a month or two, it can be kept out.