I love this distinctive, unusual caramel sauce. It was included as part of the Spiced Pumpkin Sour Cream Upside-Down Coffee Cake post, but was unfortunately buried at the end. It deserves a home of its own, so that folks won’t miss it.
Spiced Apple Cider Caramel Sauce
This sauce is absolutely delicious. Imagine a dark caramel sauce with the additional flavor and acidity of tart green apples. I love it on everything in the Fall season–over vanilla bean or sweet corn gelato, with warm-spiced roasted apples, alongside pumpkin bread pudding, with beignet or ebelskiver, over delicate cottage cheese pancakes or Swedish flespannkaka (small, crepe-like pancakes with bits of rendered salt pork) , and most especially with Spiced Pumpkin Sour Cream Upside-Down Cake with Caramelized Cranberry Hazelnut Topping and Orange Cream.
6 cups apple cider (preferably no added sugar or preservatives and fresh pressed)
1 Mexican (canela) cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
½ teaspoon whole cloves
½ teaspoon whole allspice
1 whole star anise
1½ cups sugar
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- To reduce the apple cider, add cider, cinnamon, and allspice to a medium saucepan, set over brisk heat, bring to a simmer, and simmer until reduced to 1½ cups. Remove from the heat and reserve.
- To make the caramel, combine the sugar, water, and cream of tartar in a medium saucepan and set over medium-low heat.
- Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the syrup clears. To prevent crystallization, do not rush this first step; use a pastry brush dipped in cold water to wash down the sides of the saucepan.
- When the sugar is fully dissolved, raise the heat, bring the syrup to a boil, and stop stirring. Continue heating without stirring until the syrup turns a dark amber color. An instant-read thermometer will read 340°.
- Remove from the heat immediately and set in a larger pan of ice water to stop the cooking.
- Back on the stovetop, with no heat, carefully stir in the apple cider, keeping your distance, as the mixture will rise up and splatter.
- Now, over low heat, stir until the caramel and cider are blended.
- Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. If the sauce is a little too thick for your intended purpose, thin it progressively with a small amount of additional apple cider.
- To store, refrigerate in a covered container. Reheat gently before serving.
- Makes 2 cups.