This morning as I walked to the train station I began absentmindedly kicking leaves. Suddenly I glanced down in shock. Um… What are these leaves doing on the ground? Why aren’t they placidly blowing in the morning summer wind? Why aren’t these leaves green?! You know – That beautiful lush green reminiscent of spring and summer. These leaves – Leaves I expected to still be stuck to tree branches were various shades of… Fall.
And I thought, “IT IS STILL AUGUST!”
Say it ain’t so, Mama Nature – Just say it ain’t so! Let me tell you – I had a PTSD situation. The Polar Vortex is still FRESH in my mind. The snow and the cold. And the SNOW! AND THE COLD!! UGH! I’m still waking up in sweats over it.
Listen, no one loves fall and calf high boots more than I do. I’m looking forward to wearing my leggings again. Perhaps not have to shave my legs so often? Why can’t it be summer till like November?
Mama Nature, say it ain’t so. Please, girl – Just say it. I need to bridge this situation somehow and accept it is indeed August and fall is descending upon us. I want to do this the yummy way – before I get a Jacob’s Ladder-esque flashback of this past winter and someone carts me off to the padded rooms.
I want to take all the good things of fall. And to me, fall is all about the spice and apples. How about the warmth and spice of a warm apple pie? How ‘bout we turn that jammy into ice cream – An ice cream with fall flavors, eaten outside where it is STILL summer. A summer that is still sunny, and boozy, and nice.
Flow with me, homies. Let’s roll with this apple pie ice cream situation.
I cooked some apples down and then blended them in a mixture of milk, heavy cream, condensed milk, spices, and rum. I brought it to a simmer and then allowed the apple mixture steep for about an hour.
I blended this jammy then strained the apple bits. And since every great ice cream is a custard situation, I went there. For a bit of crunch and to mimic a crust component – baked nilla wafer crumbs. This is optional, of course – But – Nilla wafers, yo!
This ice cream tastes just like apple pie, just like fall – Cinnamon spice and apples with a bit ‘o rum to warm up our innards.It’s like turning leaves, fall scarves and crisp afternoons.
All good things…
Apple Pie Ice Cream
- For the cooked apples
- 6 granny smith apples, thinly sliced
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 ½ tablespoon dark rum
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- For the ice cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 ¾ cups heavy cream
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 egg yolks
- For the nilla wafer crumble (Totally optional – But um… Do it)
- 12 nilla wafers
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
Cook the Apples:
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is somewhat melted, add the sugar and whisk to combine. When the brown sugar has melted into the butter, add the apples, rum, and spices and cook stirring frequently until the apples have softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, leaving a sort of dark caramel syrup on the bottom of the skillet, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove 1 heaping cup of the apples. Store the cup of apples in an airtight container. We’re going to use that jammy later.
Make the Ice Cream Custard:
To a blender, add the cooked apples (with all that delicious spicy caramel), milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, condensed milk, spices, salt, and vanilla extract. Blend over high speed until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once the mixture has been brought to a simmer, turn off the stove, give it a stir and allow the mixture to steep for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Once your mixture has steeped, prepare a large bowl with ice water - A bowl large enough to hold a smaller bowl for your egg custard. Separate your egg yolks into the bowl.
Add your steeped apple mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly until completely incorporated. Add the mixture a medium saucepan and cool over medium/low heat, stirring THE ENTIRE TIME until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Test by dipping the wooden spoon into the custard and running your finger down the spoon. If the mixture doesn't come together when you run your finger, it's ready. This can take anywhere from 5-8 minutes.
Pour the apple mixture in the bowl lined with the strainer, pressing and stirring the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. If apple bits escape the strainer – That’s a good thing. Allow the custard to cool completely, stirring every once in a while to help it along.
Freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions and once your ice cream is frozen, fold in the reserved cup of cooked apples. Pour into an airtight container and allow to freeze completely. Serve topped with nilla wafer crumble.
Make the nilla wafer crumble (Again, totally optional):
As your ice cream base steeps, heat the oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place the wafers in ziplock back. Using a rolling pin or your hands, crush the vanilla wafers until they’re coarsely ground.
Transfer the nilla wafer crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the melted butter and use a spoon to evenly combine the butter into the crushed wafers. The mixture should appear slightly moistened.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet, spreading slightly with an offset spatula. Toast in the oven until brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. (The crumbs can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature).
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