Boiled cider pie is sometimes called Shaker cider pie. Shakers in New England and the Midwest certainly made cider pies and added boiled cider to the applesauce that they canned and sold commercially. However, this recipe came not from Shakers but from a Unitarian church group in Waterville, which published “Delectable Recipes, Tried and True” as a fundraiser in 1898.
Early in the 19th century, when sugar was expensive, boiled cider was an economical sweetener and flavor enhancer. Any farmer who produced enough apples to make cider could make boiled cider. Because it was not a product of slave labor, it had a special appeal to abolitionists. When the supply of sugar and molasses was interrupted by the Civil War, boiled cider served a substitute for sugar in the North.
Temperance advocates recommended canning boiled cider so that it could be stored without fermenting into hard cider and reconstituted for a beverage when needed.
You make boiled cider yourself by cooking cider down to one-seventh of its volume. Boiled cider is a delectable sweetener and flavoring for cakes, pie, applesauce, donuts and muffins; it also makes a nice topping for pancakes.