Recipe Spotlight

Basque Cider Takes Salted Caramel Sauce to the Next Level

This sweet, tangy, funky, and altogether unique sauce will revolutionize your concept of caramel.

Published Dec. 20, 2022.

I like to think that I’m pretty well-versed in the world of caramels. I’ve whiled away the hours waiting for a dulce de leche to caramelize, and burned many a finger cooking the perfect stovetop salted caramel.

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But my world was turned upside down when I made Nicole KonstantinakosBasque Cider Salted Caramel Sauce for the first time.

This sauce—which was created to be drizzled over a wedge of decadently creamy La Viña–Style Cheesecake—is not your grandmas salted caramel. Unless youre from the Basque region of Spain. In which case, it probably is. Wherever youre from, this salted caramel is tangy and complex, with the addition of Basque cider lending an undeniably funky flavor.

Basque cider, otherwise known as sagardoa (meaning apple wine), is a hard apple cider from the Basque region of Europe. It’s highly fermented, lending the drink its signature funk. It’s a flat cider, though it is traditionally poured from a high angle to create froth and carbonation when drunk.

Basque Cider Salted Caramel Sauce delivers the deep, molasses-like sweetness of a more traditional caramel sauce and balances it with the complex flavors of dry, tart cider. Not only does it taste unlike anything you’ve tried before, but lashings of this silky, slightly shimmering sauce look like a renaissance masterpiece dripping off the tines of your fork.

Not that it’ll last long enough on the plate for you to notice.

La Viña–Style Cheesecake

Who says cheesecake needs to be fussy? This version has just five ingredients, an easy method, and a sweet backstory.
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Don’t just take my word for it. Head out for some Basque cider and come home to make this mouthwatering dessert accompaniment . . . but be sure to take a quick swig for yourself to appreciate these truly unique flavors.

Basque Cider Salted Caramel Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

If you cant find Basque cider (also known as sagardoa), substitute another dry hard cider. You can reheat the sauce either in a microwave or in a small saucepan over low heat, whisking often, until the sauce is warm and smooth.

  • 1 (750-ml) bottle Basque hard cider
  • 1⅔ cups (11⅔ ounces) sugar
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt

  1. Bring cider and sugar to boil in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture is syrupy and full of large bubbles and registers about 250 degrees, 25 to 35 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, swirling saucepan occasionally, until mixture is deep amber–colored and registers 320 to 330 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes longer. (Watch caramel closely during final minutes of cooking since temperature can increase quickly.)
  3. Off heat, carefully whisk in cream and salt (mixture will bubble and steam). Continue to whisk until sauce is smooth. Let sauce cool slightly before serving, about 15 minutes. (Sauce will thicken as it cools. Cooled sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks; reheat before serving.)

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