Cider Poached Shrimp

This month’s recipe, Cider Poached Shrimp, is a sample from my new book Cider Cocktails – Another Bite of the Apple. Using cider to poach seafood is common in the cider making regions of both France and Spain. Although I call for a semi-dry cider in the recipe, a bright, dry one would be lovely as well. Just don’t use a cider that is either very sweet or bitter as those flavors will be too prominent in the dipping sauce.

cider poached shrimp 3

  • 1 cup semi-dry cider
  • 1 bouquet garni (1 sprig thyme, 2 – 3 stems parsely, 1 bay leaf, all tied together)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp (about 24)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ cup chopped canned tomatoes
  • 2 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp minced chives as a garnish

Bring the cider, bouquet garni, ½ tsp of salt, and ¼ tsp of black pepper to a simmer. Add the shrimp, cover, lower the heat, and cook just until the shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp, saving the liquid, set them aside, let them cool, then refrigerate until you are ready to serve them. They can be poached a day ahead to time.

To make the dipping sauce, heat the olive oil in a small pan and cook the garlic and onion until soft and a little translucent. Add the tomatoes and poaching liquid (along with the bouquet garni), raise the heat and simmer vigorously until most of the liquid is gone and the mixture is quite thick. Turn off the heat and let cool for a bit, then blend in a blender until very smooth. Stir in the horseradish and créme fraiche. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Chill several hours before serving to let the flavors marry.

Makes about 2 dozen shrimp and about ¾ cup of dipping sauce

Cocktails in Paradise

Writing can take a little time, if you are doing it thoughtfully, and it can be challenging to find that kind of time when you are on the road.  Still, it is the final Friday of the month, which means it is time for a cider recipe.  I’ve been drinking a lot of cider cocktails lately – cider can be an excellent constituent in all manner of mixed drinks – and as I am currently in a paradise of tropical fruits it seems fitting to share a recipe that combines the two, the Kehei Inu.


  • 2 1/2 ounces golden rum
  • 1 1/2 ounces lilikoi juice
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 5 ounces chilled pineapple cider
  • fresh pineapple to garnish

Mix the rum and juices together in a cocktail shaker, add some ice and shake well to combine.  Strain into a glass, add the cider and some more ice, then garnish with the pineapple.  Drink on a lanai surrounded by birdsong while watching the sun sink gracefully into the ocean.

Pots de Créme with an Iced Cider Gelée

This classic French dessert with a bit of a twist is modeled after a luscious variation I had at The Gilbert Scott in London several years ago. The dark chocolate custard is topped with a layer of ice cider gelée, whose tart apple underpinnings balance the creamy richness below. You’ll need some 6 ounce custard cups and a some sort of roasting or brownie pan that is about as deep at the custard cups are tall.

pot de créme

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 Tbsp superfine sugar
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup ice cider
  • ½ tsp powdered gelatin

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Mix the egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar together in a large bowl until they are fully blended but not frothy.

Break the chocolate into pieces and put them in the top of a double boiler along with 2 Tbsp of the cream and the salt. (If you don’t have a double boiler, you can make one by simply placing a metal bowl over a pot with a couple of inches of water in it.) Bring the water in the bottom of the double boiler to a simmer and let the chocolate melt, stirring from time to time so that the chocolate stays nice and creamy. Meanwhile, put the rest of the cream and the milk in a separate pot and heat until the mixture has just started to form little bubbles around the edge. Turn off the heat and reserve until the chocolate has completely melted. Once the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat and begin whisking in the hot milk/cream a little at a time. You may need to add a little, whisk a lot, add a little, whisk a lot for a while so that the milk/cream fully incorporates into the chocolate without separating. Eventually you can add more milk/cream at a time, whisking away, until all the milk/cream is in.

Pour about ¼ cup of the hot chocolate cream into the eggs, while beating them so they don’t scramble, then whisk the tempered eggs back into the chocolate cream. Fill 6 custard cups with the custard-to-be to about ½ inch of the rim, place them in the roasting pan, then fill the pan with boiling water – just enough so that it comes about half-way up the sides of the custard cups. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the custard seems fully set (it will jiggle a little in the middle, but will look more or less solid). Remove from the oven, and the roasting pan, and chill for at least 2 hours.

To make the ice cider gelée, put the ice cider in a small pan then sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let them sit for 5 minutes, then bring to a simmer. Simmer 1 minute, then let it sit off heat for 2 minutes. Pour onto the top of the chilled pots de créme, and chill again until the gelée has set, at least 2 hours.

Makes 6 pots de créme