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In a small saucepan, combine cider, syrup, sage and shallot. Simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Brush hens all over with 1 tablespoon of the butter and sprinkle inside and out with pepper and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt.
Tie the legs of each hen together with kitchen string and tuck the wings under the birds. Place them in a large roasting pan and surround with apples.
Drizzle apples with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Roast 30 minutes.
Brush hens generously with cider glaze and continue to roast, brushing them with more glaze every 5 minutes, until they are browned and their juices run clear (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching bone, should register 165°F), 15 to 20 minutes more.
Allow to rest 10 minutes, then split each hen down the middle and serve.