I think, sir, you’ve had enough,…. Cider.

Hot chocolate has always been my hot beverage of choice. But, I decided to mix it up and try something new… and it paid off. Hot apple cider. Delicious.

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Now, you may be asking yourself if making cider from scratch is any better than just buying a jug of something from the store and heating it up. If you are asking yourself that question then you’re in good company because that is literally the first question we ask ourselves any time we decided to tackle a new recipe. In some cases it is and occasionally it isn’t. Homemade marshmallows, be real people. In this case, it was a win. If you had access to your own, fresh picked apples then it would probably be even better. Using apples to make the cider instead of apple juice gets you more of the richness and apple flavor. If those you are serving this creation to can’t tell the difference then throw them out of your house immediately and vow never to serve them any of your kitchen creations ever again. (But in all seriousness, the end product here was much better then some store-bought juice).

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The only downfall of this recipe is that it is a plan ahead item and not a last minute thing. The apples and spices and everything go into the crock pot for a good while and then there is some processing and assembly to do afterward.

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The other thing to be aware of is that if you need a lot of cider from this recipe make sure to have enough crock pot space or more likely a few crock pots. The apples take up a good bit of space and then cook down some and then get mashed and reduced to cider yielding less than you probably initially thought you were going to get by the amount of stuff you put in.

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So if you’re serious about cider – and really, who isn’t (This is Nathan and I’m not serious about cider. I never understood the stuff quite honestly) – then this is definitely a recipe for your next cold weather party.


Hot Apple Cider
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1.5 quarts
  • 1 orange
  • 10 medium apples
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (or 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 TBSP granulated sugar, add more for a sweeter cider
  1. Peel the orange and place the segments in the slow cooker.
  2. Wash the apples, cut into quarters, and place in the slow cooker. Add the cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, and sugar. Add enough water to cover the fruit.
  3. Cook on low heat for 6-7 hours. (Or high heat for 3.)
  4. After 6-7 hours, the fruit will be very soft. Use a large spoon to mash the fruit and release its liquids. Allow the cider to cook on low for 1 more hour.
  5. Very slowly strain the chunky liquid though a fine mesh sieve into a large pot or pitcher. You can discard the solids. Strain the cider one more time to rid any other solids.


Fruit, it’s not for everyone…or is it?

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset Real talk...the first time Nathan told me he wanted to make a balsamic fruit tart, I was extremely skeptical. Not that he had ever led me wrong before, but balsamic vinegar and fruit? I had no idea what kind of magic was right around the corner. The flavors in this tart are just so perfectly balanced, it's amazing. Nathan here,.... the best part of this tart is that when you say, "would you like some balsamic vinegar tart", most everyone will crinkle their nose and then politely decline and this of course means that there will be that much more tart left for you to shove in your glutenous face hole. The custard for this tart is very rich and the reduced white balsamic vinegar gives just enough to zing to the flavor to make this one of the best tarts, if not one of the best things period, that you can have for dessert. As with most egg based custards, be sure to take your time so you don't prematurely cook your eggs. Even if you're being careful this recipe requires you to pass your finished product through a sieve to be sure there are no eggy chunks in your finished product. Not only does it taste amazing, but a berry tart has good wow factor. All your guests will be duly impressed even if they don't have any. Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset
White Balsamic Custard Tart with Fresh Berry Topping
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8 Servings
  • Crust
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • Filling
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • Topping
  • 2 large strawberries, hulled, sliced
  • 2½-pint containers blueberries
  • 1½-pint container raspberries
  1. For crust:
  2. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until coarse meal forms. Add egg yolk and cream. Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Press dough evenly into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Pierce dough all over with fork. Chill 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake crust until golden, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 22 minutes. Cool.
  4. For filling:
  5. Stir cream and cornstarch in medium bowl until cornstarch dissolves. Add eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla; whisk to blend.
  6. Boil vinegar in heavy medium saucepan until reduced to ¼ cup, about 3 minutes. Add ¾ cup water, sugar, and butter. Stir until butter melts; return to boil. Gradually whisk vinegar mixture into egg mixture; return to pan. Whisk until custard thickens and boils, about 1 minute. Strain into bowl; cool. Spread custard in prepared crust. Cover and chill tart at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.
  7. For topping:
  8. Arrange strawberry slices in star pattern in center of tart. Arrange raspberries in star pattern. Surround with blueberries. Cover loosely and chill until ready to serve. (Can be made up to 6 hours ahead.)