Apple Pie Ice Cream

Had to have our home-grown 'Pink Pearl' apples star in an ice cream!  Lots of cinnamon for that apple pie flavor and snickerdoodle cookies as a stand-in for the pie crust.  How's that for Apple Pie à la mode!

Apple Pie Ice Cream
Adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones:  90 Recipes for Making Your Own Ice Cream and Frozen Treats from Bi-Rite Creamery by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker and Dabney Gough
Makes approx 1 quart.

Prepare Mix-ins:

Peel, core and dice into 1/2" cubes:
3 medium apples (firm, tart varieties such as Pink Pearl, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Pippin)

In a medium skillet, combine over medium heat:
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup, packed brown sugar

When butter is melted and brown sugar has combined with butter, add in diced apples.  Cook for 5-10 minutes or until apples have softened and water has evaporated.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Transfer apples to container with lid and refrigerate.

I used Joy of Cooking's recipe, but feel free to use your own favorite version.  Rather than making individual cookies, I made bar cookies by sprinkling the bottom of a 9" round cake pan with half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then spreading the dough evenly in pan and sprinkling remaining cinnamon-sugar on top.  I baked them a little darker than usual so they'd stay crunchy in the ice cream.  Let cool, then chop or crumble into 1/4" pieces. You'll need 1/2 cup. Alternatively, you could also use graham crackers as a quick fix.

Make Ice Cream Base

In a large heatproof bowl, whisk until sugar is dissolved:
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar

In a large nonreactive saucepan, stir together:
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup 1% or 2% milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Cook over medium-high heat.  When mixture approaches a bare simmer, turn off stove.  Use a ladle to scoop out about 1/2 cup of hot cream mixture and, whisking eggs constantly, add cream to egg yolks. Repeat, adding another 1/2 cup of hot cream to egg yolks, again whisking constantly. Now, pour the egg-and-cream mixture back into saucepan while whisking saucepan contents.

Return pan to stove and cook mixture carefully over low heat, stirring constantly in an S-shape pattern with a heatproof rubber spatula, to a temperature of  between 160°- 180°F. Salmonella is destroyed at 160°F, but beyond 180°F you run the risk of curdling the eggs.  (See Note below if you do curdle your eggs.)  Mixture should thicken so it coats the back of spatula and holds a clear track when you run your finger across spatula.

Pour ice cream base through fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl.  Place bowl into an ice bath.  Stir base to help it cool down more quickly.  I'm impatient, so I often don't wait for the mixture to cool completely to room temperature before placing in refrigerator.  Instead, I first cover bowl with a paper towel to absorb water vapor, then with plastic wrap and finally place in refrigerator to chill overnight.

Next day, place 1/2 of chilled ice cream base into blender along with cooked down apples and:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Blend until combined and smooth.  Pour back into bowl with remaining base.  Stir to combine.

Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.  During last minute or so of churning, add:
1/2 cup chopped or crumbled Snickerdoodle cookies (about 1/4" pieces)

Transfer to chilled container and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Note:  If your eggs curdle (you'll see lots of solid bits of egg), don't lose hope. Skip the strainer and the ice bath.  Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, then blend using either a blender, food processor or stick blender for several seconds or until smooth.  Chill overnight and continue with recipe.

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