So here we sit in the aftermath of one of the most devastating storms to visit the East Coast: Hurricane Sandy. Matt and I fared very well, all things considered. We are fortunate to live very inland, in central Queens. We experienced no flooding, thankfully. The high winds did a number on our neighborhood though. Three trees were uprooted on our block alone. We are grateful none of them hit our building or our car. As we walk mere blocks away from our street, people were not so lucky. Trees have uprooted the sidewalk, split a gas line, and significantly damaged a handful of cars. And the thing is, our neighborhood is one of the LEAST damaged in all of New York, not to mention much of New Jersey. It’s a sobering time.
Matt and I have been pretty much stuck inside since Sunday afternoon. Roads are closed and public transportation is shut down “until further notice”. His work is still closed. I am not sure when I can resume my real estate business. Fortunately, we never lost power. We have mostly kept the television tuned to NBC, watching storm coverage and press conferences. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this disaster.
I made this amazing ice cream a few days before Sandy hit, and it kept us and our downstairs neighbors company while Sandy made landfall. We all ate generous helpings while hoping that crossed fingers would ward off calls from the electric company. This recipe truly lives us to its billing: it’s apple pie meets ice cream, quite literally. I’m not sure when or where or even why I came up with this idea, but it got into my head and refused to leave. I suppose it’s a simple idea, really; I love apple pie and I love ice cream. Why not combine the two? It’s delicious and I hope you love it.
2 large apples, peeled and cored, cut into chunks
2 tbs butter
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
½ cup plus 2 tbs white sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups whole milk
2 cups cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp white sugar
1 pie crust, store-bought or homemade, thawed if frozen and rolled out to fit a 9″ pie plate
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Preheat a large saute pan over medium heat. Sauté the apples with brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg until softened, but still with a slight bite to them. Allow to cool.
In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks with 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs white sugar, plus the almond extract. Whisk for one minute, until the yolks are pale yellow. If the mixture is too thick, add a splash of milk to help it along.
In a medium stockpot, heat the milk and 1 cup cream until it’s scalded, which means until it’s almost boiling. But don’t let it boil. Turn the heat to low, then temper in egg mixture: add half a cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then slowly pour the egg mixture into the milk in the stockpot, whisking continually. Cook over low for 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour through a strainer into a mixing bowl. Add salt. Let come to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, until firmly chilled.
Roll out pie crust on a floured surface if necessary, then cut in half across the equator, then cut again into inch-wide strips. In a small bowl, mix the 1 tsp cinnamon with the 2 tsp sugar. Sprinkle liberally onto the pie crust strips. Bake on a greased baking sheet for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool, then chop into bite-size pieces and set aside.
When the ice cream base is thoroughly chilled, add the extra cup of cream and stir to combine. Churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. In the last five minutes of churning, add in the sauteed apples and the pie crust chunks. Let it set up in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight.