What are you going to do with all those apples you have left? Well, it is almost Halloween, so what do you think we are going to do with them? Make apple cider! This is a great recipe for apple cider the way it is supposed to be made, which means with rum! In addition, we have a nice little twist so you can serve it at your Halloween party.
12 pounds of ripe apples (use a variety of apples for better flavor, such as Red Delicious, Fuji, and Granny Smith-10 pounds are for the actual cider, two pounds are for garnish).
2T Sea Salt
2 Cans Frozen Lemonade Concentrate
2 C Lemon Juice (I prefer fresh, bottled juice is fine)
Whole Black Cloves (these will be a garnish)
2 C of Spiced Rum (Sailor Jerry is my favorite!)
The first step is in making the actual apple cider. There is a lot of labor involved, but you will love the flavor. If you wish to skip this step, simply buy two gallons of your favorite cider at the grocery store.
You will need to core and wedge 10 pounds of the apples. Break them out into small batches that will fit into your food processor. Add batch of apples and puree, then add about a 1/3c of water and blend again.
Set up a large container with either a cheesecloth or strainer over top of it. As you finish each batch in the food processor, pour the mixture over the strainer and into the container. Repeat this process until all the apples have been pureed. When done, press down on any apple mash on the strainer or squeeze out the cheesecloth to get every ounce of flavor and juice remaining the mash that was caught by the filtering.
Once you have the cider, pour into a large pot and boil to 160 degrees. This will pasteurize the cider so it will keep longer.
Now it is time to make the Halloween twist.
In a large bowl, combine the salt and lemon juice.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. While the oven is warming, peel the remaining two pounds of apples. Cut them in half and remove the core. On the rounded side, carve a variety of scary faces into the apples. When each face is done, place the apples into the bowl with lemon juice mixture for about a minute and then transfer over to baking sheet.
When all of the faces are done, place baking sheet in over and bake until apples are browning and dry. This should take about 75-90 minutes. When they are done, take them out of the oven and add the spiced cloves for eyeballs.
Mix lemonade concentrate, rum, and cider together in your serving container (a large punch bowl if possible). If you want to serve the cider warm, place ingredients into a large pot and bring up to temp slowly. Add your shrunken heads and your homemade cider is ready to go!
Photo Courtesy of Cale Bruckner via Creative Commons License