Friday, October 24, 2008

Apple Crisp Ice Cream

Absolutely nothing says autumn like apples. Quintessential fall menus always include various versions of apple pie, apple crisp, apple tarts, apple streudel, tarte tatin. These are the most comforting desserts imaginable and we never ever tire of them. It’s not until the holidays come around that we’re even tempted by anything else.

Today I thought I’d have a little fun with the idea of a delicious apple crisp. I decided to put together an ice cream swirled with apples and top it with a crisp streusel. This combines the creamy texture of luxurious cinnamon ice cream, the soul-soothing bite of caramelized apples and the chewy crunch of baked streusel all packed into one fabulous bowl. Wowie. This is a very fun twist on our favorite slice of Americana. I think you’ll be very glad that apples are now proudly center stage.

Bench notes:
- This can be made over two days. Bake the streusel on day one and store in an airtight container. Make the ice cream base and chill overnight. On day two, sauté the apples, spin the ice cream and assemble.
- I added a tiny bit of oatmeal to the streusel because I’m on an oatmeal jag. I also love sliced almonds or pecans. Do your thing.
- Always be careful when working with caramel. It’s very hot and a tiny splash on your skin will hurt. Use a long-handled spoon to stir and stand back when adding liquids, especially if they are not at room temperature. Once the caramel is the right color, quickly add the butter, cream, water and apples to stop the cooking. This is all done off the heat. Return to the heat to finish cooking the apples.
- You may want to add a splash of rum or brandy to the apples that get added to the ice cream to keep them from getting too icy.
- There will be a little bit of leftover caramel sauce that has a wonderful apple flavor. I like to add a tiny splash of apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar to brighten it. It will keep refrigerated for a while.
- I used ground Vietnamese Cassia cinnamon, which is far more aromatic and stronger than regular Korintje Cassia cinnamon. Taste your base to see if it has the right strength.

Apple Crisp Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart

Cinnamon Ice Cream

1 C milk
2 C heavy cream
1/2 C sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 t ground cinnamon
5 egg yolks
1/2 t vanilla extract

Warm the milk, cream and sugar with the both kinds of cinnamon. Do not let the mixture boil. Turn off the heat and steep the spices for about 15 minutes or until you have the right flavor, tasting as you go.

Whisk eggs yolks and add some of the warm milk to temper, stirring constantly. Pour into the remaining milk, whisk and return to low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a spoon and a finger traced through it leaves a clean track. Strain immediately into a clean container. Cool and chill thoroughly. If you want a stronger cinnamon flavor, leave the cinnamon stick in the custard.

Remove cinnamon stick and freeze according to your machine’s directions. Fold in the chopped apples. Pour into a clean container, press a piece of plastic wrap over the surface and place in your freezer to firm up.

Caramel Apples

2 Granny Smith apples
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C water
1 oz (2 T) butter @ room temperature
3 T cream @ room temperature
pinch salt

Peel and core apples. Cut into 1/4” slices and set aside.

Bring sugar and water to a boil and cook until it reaches a medium amber color. Take it off the heat and let it get a bit darker on its own. When it takes on a deeper amber color, add the butter then slowly add the cream. Stand back as it may sputter. Sprinkle with a good pinch of salt. Swirl the pan to combine the ingredients. Add 2 tablespoons of water to loosen the mixture. Add the apples and swirl the pan to coat them.

Return to low heat and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the apple slices are tender. Take off the heat. Remove the apples from the caramel and split into two portions. Set aside one portion and cut the remaining apple slices into bite-size pieces. Store the remaining caramel sauce for another use.

Streusel Topping

2 oz (4 T) butter @ room temperature
3 1/2 T brown sugar, packed
6 T ground almonds
pinch salt
pinch cinnamon
1/4 C + 2 T flour

Beat the butter with spatula until creamy. Blend in each ingredient. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Break up into pieces, spread on parchment and bake at 325 degrees for ten minutes. Stir and break up pieces and continue baking 5 – 10 minutes until well browned. Cool.

Warm the apple slices just a bit. Place a couple of scoops of ice cream in a bowl and garnish with apples and streusel. Ah, autumn.


Cannelle Et Vanille said...

oh gayle, this is my kind of ice cream. i love all textures together and the spiciness... homerun with this one for me!

Helene said...

Looks like there are several of us i an ice cream mood. Love the textures of yours and can feel that cinnamon on my tongue! Gorgeous!

Heather said...

ohh this looks just delicious! i love apples, too... they're just wonderful this time of year!

Anonymous said...

this ice cream looks amazing! it's starting to get cold here in dc but i'd be willing to deal with it just for this. =) pretty pictures!

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! The picture made me want to try this ice cream! Then I saw how you made it!!! Delicious!

Anonymous said...

It is the images that are so tempting. Ice creams are always wonderful and these innovative ones are more.

Y said...

Love this. It's a great way to celebrate Autumn, and I'm a fan of eating ice cream all year round :D

Anonymous said...

i have apples coming out of my ears. this looks like a great recipe to help me get through them.

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Anonymous said...

your apple ice cream looks sooo delectable!

espresso machines said...

My fave is apple and ice cream,and with this recipe-2 in 1?WOW!
Love this this!!