Nothing’s better than a slice of warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, right? (Okay, so the pie COULD be strawberry, but since berries aren’t in season, just go with me on this one, okay? It’s apple time around here.) How about apple pie and vanilla ice cream all blended together in sweet, cinnamon-and-vanilla-bean-spiked awesomeness?
I thought so.
I’d had my eye on this recipe ever since Annie posted it back in, oh, JULY, but I hadn’t gotten around to making it until just a couple weeks ago. Next time, I won’t wait four-plus months to try out a new ice cream flavor! The cinnamon/vanilla bean ice cream was the perfect base for the graham cracker crumbs and apples. I shared it with some friends one evening, and Andy and I may or may not have eaten the leftovers straight from the bowl a day or so later. My only complaint (and I was the only one who noticed, so it’s possible that I’m a little OCD) was that I felt like some bites of the apple filling were just like eating frozen applesauce mixed with my ice cream. The flavor was excellent; the texture was just a bit off, but not nearly enough to make me stop eating it!
Apple Pie Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk*
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, divided
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon (the original recipe called for a cinnamon stick, but I’m fresh out of those…) 🙂
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I have no idea what kind I used; they’re from Andy’s parents’ trees.)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup chopped graham crackers
In a medium saucepan, stir together the milk, one cup of cream, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean pod into the pot (and, if you’re me, practically swoon over HOW GOOD IT SMELLS) and drop the pod into the mixture. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is heated through. Cover the pan, remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the remaining cream into a large mixing bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until smooth. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat it over medium heat, stirring constantly. The mixture is done when it coats the back of a spoon (somewhere between 170 and 175 degrees, if you’re keeping track with a thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer into the remaining cup of cream and then stir in the vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled. (I left the vanilla bean pod in during this step and removed it prior to churning.)
While the custard is chilling, melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the apples, cinnamon and sugar and stir to coat. Cook until the apples begin to soften, about 10 minutes. (I may have overcooked mine, which could have led to the texture issue I talked about earlier. In my defense, I did have four projects and all four burners working on the stove at the same time.) Add the vanilla and cook for another minute or until the liquid cooks off. Remove from heat and let cool. (Mine hung out in the fridge all night – I mixed everything up on Thursday night and churned it before work Friday morning.)
Remove the vanilla bean pod from the custard. Churn the chilled custard according to the ice cream maker’s directions. Once the ice cream has finished churning, scoop about half of it into a large mixing bowl. Stir in half of the apples and graham crackers, then scoop the rest of the ice cream into the bowl. Stir in the remaining apples and graham crackers. Freeze until firm.
*I pretty much never buy whole milk, but let’s face it, ice cream is not a health food. It needs the extra fat! 🙂 To avoid having a lot of extra whole milk, I simply diluted some more cream to what I figured was “whole milk” consistency.