Apples are everywhere right now. Despite seemingly endless varieties at the market, people still push and shove for the Honey Crisp. They rant and rave about how they are so much better than they others, but for my tastes, I prefer the Fuji. Granted, the Double Honey confiture from Flora Confections, which is made from honey crisp apples, honey, and lemon juice, is about the best thing that I have purchased at the Green City Market all year. However, the sweetness and crispness of the Fuji is more than fine by me and I do not have to knock any marketeers over who describe the apple using a variations of “Nom”.
With ice cream, apples are difficult to incorporate into ice cream directly. However, with a little creativity, apples can be incorporated by reducing cider to a syrup and incorporating the syrup into the custard. I opted to melt the sugar into caramel before incorporating it into the custard which pushes the flavors even more towards fall. In order to put even more emphasis on the apple, I sauted apple cut into a small dice in sugar and butter, let it cool, and added it at the end of churning.
My biggest mistake in making this recipe was using half and half instead of cream and whole milk. Something happens with premade half and half that give the ice cream’s texture a less luxurious feel. In the recipe below, feel free to substitute a cup of cream and a cup and a half of whole milk.
However, this mistake did not get in the way of enjoyment. The caramel taste finishes with the tartness from the reduced cider and it is impossible to separate the two. The frozen chunks of fuji apple create a nice textural contrast to the smooth cream. The process of making this ice cream may be more than you are willing to undertake, but it is a fun project and you will be rewarded with a serious quart of ice cream.
Caramel Apple Ice Cream
- 4 cups apple cider
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 1/2 cup half and half
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 fuji apple, cut into 1/4″ dice
- 1 tablespoon butter
Step one: Saute apple with butter and 1 tablespoon sugar until tender. Chill overnight.
Step two: Reduce cider from four cups to about 1/2 cup or until it has a syrupy texture.
Step three: Heat sugar in non-stick skillet until it reaches your desired color. Add reduced cider, whisk, and add to back to heat. The caramel should harden and then return back to a viscous form. Add salt.
Step four: Heat half and half to a simmer. Add caramel/cider mixture. Whisk until the texture is uniform. Add a spoonful of heated milk to eggs to temper and then add back to milk mixture and whisk until the custard coats the back of a spoon.
Step five: Chill overnight.
Step six: Churn using ice cream maker instructions. With about 5-10 minutes remaining. Add diced apples and complete.