Boiled cider is a substitute for maple syrup that’s found throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. To make it at home, gently boil a gallon of apple cider in a heavy-bottomed pot, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced to 2 cups, about 2 hours. Let cool to room temperature and store, refrigerated, in an airtight container. In addition to cocktails, the syrup tastes great on oatmeal, ice cream, or as a glaze for roasted meats and vegetables.
The squash tart, which calls for frozen puff pastry, can be made with whatever squash is in season in your region. You can assemble the tart the night before, to bake off just before guests arrive. You can also roast and purée the beets ahead of time, to assemble just before serving.
Seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic, juicy beef tenderloin is the perfect main dish to serve to big groups, and any leftovers can be used in sandwiches the day after. For step-by-step instructions on tying a whole beef tenderloin to ensure even cooking, see All Tied Up.