In my household, for obvious reasons, we call this recipe “Toffee Apple Ice Cream”. I am a firm believer that ice cream is not just for summer and this is a great recipe for autumn. It is brilliant on a warm early autumn day and also when you want a light dessert when it gets a bit colder in late autumn or winter. The taste of this ice cream reminds me of fairgrounds (see the reference to Toffee Apples), Halloween and Bonfire Night (November 5th).
As I am keen on using seasonal, local produce, I generally make this ice cream in late August and September when it is apple season in England. However, you can make it all the year around.
You must use eating rather than cooking apples for this ice cream. Cooking apples will break down into a mush when they are heated. This is great for apple pies and crumbles but not for a recipe where you want the individual chunks to become caramelised.
You can choose any kind of eating apples to make this ice cream. However, as with any recipe, the taste will be better if you ingredients are really flavoursome. Choose apples that are sweet but but have a bit of sharpness such as Coxes (my favourite). or the ingredients, the better the finished
I like to experiment with flavour combinations and so I have added a sprig of thyme to flavour the caramelised apples. If you don’t have any bay leaves to hand, or simply don’t like the idea of adding this to your ice cream, that is fine. Just leave it out. The ice cream will still taste good!
You can use ready-made Salted Caramel in this recipe. However, I would really recommend making your own. I have an really easy Salted Caramel recipe and home-made tastes better than shop-bought. It also has lots of other uses such as being eaten in large spoonfuls directly from the jar…
Although you can make this recipe without an ice cream maker, it is a lot easier if you have one. You can buy a basic ice cream maker fairly cheaply.
It is best to start this recipe the day before you eat it. This will mean that once you have made the basic custard, it will have time to chill down before you put it in the ice cream maker the next day.
You can also make this ice cream well in advance if that is more convenient. I generally make double the quantity and keep it in the freezer where it will last for up to three months.
As with most home-made ice creams, it helps to remove the container from the freezer about ten minutes before serving as this will make it easier to scoop.
How to eat this Apple Ice Cream
This ice cream is pretty good just serves on its own. However, here are a some ideas for other ways that you can serve it.
A few chunks of caramelised apple is a good addition. If you make double the quantity, you will have plenty to serve alongside the ice cream. Similarly, a drizzle of Salted Caramel makes it even more delicious.
You could serve this ice cream as an accompaniment to any apple-based dessert. It is excellent served along with Apple Crumble or Apple Pie.
A drizzle of something alcoholic is also a good way to go with any ice cream in my view. Try something with a base note of apple, such as an apple liqueur.
In praise of apples
I love apples and really enjoy trying different varieties. I like to eat them just as they are and also to use them in comforting, traditional recipes such as Apple Crumble or Apple Cake. There are 2,500 varieties of apple. However, the big supermarkets tend to sell a very narrow range of apples. Many of the traditional varieties are becoming increasingly rare as they do not match the requirements of the big supermarkets. It is really worth visiting farmers’ markets and farm shops which generally have a wider (and locally-grown) selection.
Also, it is worth checking out events that are organised for Apple Day. In the UK, Common Ground organised the first Apple Day on 21st October 1990 in London. It has been held annually ever since and over 600 regional events take place each year. If you are interested in supporting diversity in apple production, and trying some delicious apples, you should be able to find an event near you. The Orchard Network maintains a list of events on its website.
I am a great home-made ice cream enthusiast. I make it in the summer, of course, but am happy to eat it in winter too! There are some brilliant, shop-bought ice creams available but it is so easy to make your own. I like to experiment with flavours and some of my other ice cream recipes are listed below.
Peel, core and roughly chop the apples. Put them in a heavy-based frying pan with the dark brown sugar and butter. Fry over a very low heat for 30 minutes until the apple has softened and is light brown and caramelised. Remove the apple and juices from the pan. Chop the apple with a knife or pulse in a food processor until it forms a thick puree.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
Add the bay leaves to the cream and heat it to scalding point in a saucepan or in a microwave. Do not allow to boil – it will be the right temperature when you are just about able to bear to dip a finger in it.
Pour the cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks and whisk all the time.
Transfer the combined mixture into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or, ideally a double-boiler, as you need to reheat it very gently.
The mixture will gradually thicken until it looks like a custard (which is what it is). Stir regularly to make sure it does not stick while it is thickening.
Remove the thick custard from the heat and transfer into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract and the apple puree.
Allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
When you are ready to make the ice-cream transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions. If you do not have an ice cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen. Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.
Swirl the Salted Caramel through the ice cream just before it is fully frozen.
This basic Apple Crumble recipe is the perfect introduction to classic English puddings and pudding-making in general. It is very quick and easy to make, can be produced a day ahead and is great either hot from the oven or at room temperature. Pretty much everyone loves apple-based desserts – from apple pie to baked apples – so it is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser too. I love to eat it with a drizzle of double cream but you can also eat it with custard, which is probably more traditional, or with a good vanilla ice cream.
I use only cooking apples in my crumble. These are apples which will disintegrate to a mush when cooked so that you have a thick apple puree at the base of your crumble. Eating apples will retain some firmness when cooked. If you want a bit more texture to your crumble, you can use a combination of half cooking apples and half eating apples. In my view, just using eating apples for a crumble doesn’t really work as they do not give that soft, thick apple sauce that you need for this kind of pudding. Keep the eating apples for deserts such as tarte tatin where you want your apples to keep their shape.
The only flavouring, apart from apples, is cinnamon which is a classic flavour companion. The smell of warm cinnamon-spiced apples is guaranteed to make you feel warm and cosy on a cold winter’s day.
This basic Apple Crumble recipe is a classic English pudding which brings together cinnamon-flavoured apples with a crisp, buttery topping.
1 kg cooking apples (eg Bramleys)
25 to 50 g caster sugar
A little ground cinnamon
175 g butter or vegetable fat
350 g plain flour
175 g caster sugar
Pinenuts or flaked almonds
Set your oven to 180 C, 400 F or Gas Mark 4.
Peel and core the cooking apples. Cut into pieces of approximately 1 cm.
Put the apple pieces in a large baking dish (20 cm x 28 cm). Sprinkle with caster sugar. You will need between 25 g and 50 g. The amount of sugar depend on the sourness of the apples and also how sweet you like your crumble. You can taste a piece of the apple to see how sour it is. Add a little ground cinnamon.
Next make the crumble topping. Put the 350 g flour and 175 g butter (or vegetable fat) in a bowl and “rub in” using your fingers, or use a food processor, until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Then stir in the 175 g of caster sugar.
Pour the crumble topping on top of the apples.
Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
If you wish, you can sprinkle some pinenuts or flaked almonds on top of the crumble for the final 5 minutes that it is in the oven. They should get brown and toasted (but not burnt) if they are added at this stage.
You can eat your crumble hot from the oven or at room temperature. I think it is best at room temperature, not a traditional view (!), as it brings out the flavours of apple and cinnamon.
This Easy Apple Cake combines sharp cooking apples with toasted hazelnuts and brandy-soaked sultanas. It is a versatile cake which can be eaten with morning coffee or afternoon tea but also makes a great pudding, particularly if served warm with cream or ice-cream!
I have a Bramley apple tree in my garden which means that in late August and early September I get a huge over-supply of cooking apples. This is the season for all things apple – Apple Crumble, Apple Pie, Apple Sauce! I also get to work freezing the apples – I peel, core and chop them first – so that they can be used later on in the year. Although this is a bit laborious but I get the benefit later in the year when I have ready-to-use cooking apple chunks in the freezer to make a quick crumble or pie.
Until recently, despite the early autumn apple frenzy, the one thing I didn’t make was Apple Cake. This year, I decided to give it a go and, continuing on the autumnal theme, decided to add hazelnuts and sultanas.
This is a fantastic cake to make during early autumn which brings together sharp cooking apples, toasted hazelnuts and brandy-soaked sultanas.
100 g sultanas
1 tablespoon of brandy or apple brandy (or apple juice)
225 g butter
350 g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
500 g cooking apples (eg Bramley)
100 g of toasted hazelnuts (finely chopped)
175 g caster sugar
3 large eggs
a little white or brown granulated sugar (optional)
Heat your oven to 180 C, 400 F or Gas Mark 4.
Put the sultanas in a ceramic bowl and add the brandy or apple brandy. Put in the microwave to heat for a few seconds and then set aside. The sultanas will plump up as they absorb the alcohol. If you do not want to use alcohol, you can use apple juice as a substitute.
Grease a 20 cm loose-bottomed cake tin. If your tin is not non-stick, line the base with a circle of grease-proof paper or baking parchment.
Cut the butter into small cubes and put it into a large bowl. Sift in the flour and cinnamon.
Rub the butter into the flour, either by hand or using a food processor, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Peel the cooking apples with a vegetable peeler, remove their cores and roughly chop.
Add the chopped apple, plumped-up sultanas, chopped hazelnuts and sugar to the mixture. Then stir in the eggs.
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin. Place it in the oven for one hour until it is golden and firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin on a cooling rack. You can sprinkle granulated sugar (white or brown) on the top of the warm cake to give it a crunchy topping.
Celeriac and Apple Soup – A tasty, warming vegan soup for a cold winter’s day
This Celeriac and Apple Soup is an easy vegan soup recipe that makes a fantastic lunch or supper on a cold winter’s day. It is easy to make and features the classic celery and apple flavour combination. Think Waldorf Salad but warm and comforting!
Celeriac is not the most popular of root vegetables. Its gnarly exterior, which seems perfectly designed to trap soil puts a lot of people off as it seems hard to prepare. Actually, you just need a confident attitude and a good vegetable peeler. Remove the outer skin, together with all the lumpy, gnarly bits, and you are left with a creamy globe of deliciousness that can be used in a whole range of ways in addition to Celeriac and Apple Soup. It is traditionally used in the classic French salad, Celeriac Remoulade, where it is thinly sliced and mixed in a mustard-flavoured dressing. It can also be boiled and mashed or roasted as a side-dish.
This easy, warming vegan winter soup combines the classic flavours of celeriac and apple.
2 medium-sized potatoes
1 tablespoon of oil
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
500 ml vegetable stock
1 eating apple
Optional garnish: 1 eating apple
Peel the celeriac using a vegetable peeler to remove the rough outer skin. Cut it into 1 cm chunks.
Peel and slice the onion.
Heat the oil in your saucepan. Add the celeriac chunks and sliced onions, season them with salt and pepper, and very gently fry them for around 20 minutes until they are soft and sweet. It is really important to add seasoning at this point and to cook gently to bring out the flavour of the vegetables – it will make a huge difference to the taste of your soup.
Next, peel and chop the potatoes and add them to the saucepan with the celeriac and onions. Cook gently for a few minutes.
Then, peel the apple, remove the core and chop into rough chunks. Add the chunks to the vegetables together with the crushed clove of garlic.
Add the stock to your saucepan and simmer the vegetables gently for about 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly before blending.
If you wish, you can make a dried apple garnish for the soup. Slice an eating apple thinly vertically (so the slices are “apple shaped”). Place on a non-stick baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 200 C/Gas Mark 6 for 30 minutes. Remove slices and use to decorate the soup. The apple-shaped slices look good on top of the soup and will also have a concentrated apple flavour which will enhance the taste.