Long before I ever needed to worry about keeping the doctor away, I was your average apple-a-day kind of gal for many years. First it was the rosy kiss of Red Delicious apples, then the crisp, juicy tartness of Granny Smiths. Then I gradually lost interest in them altogether. Sure there was the occasional flaky pie, muffin or crumble, but essentially I had grown bored of apples.
We were lucky enough to visit the US late last year during what I would consider perfect weather. The frost had not yet set in, and arrangements of pumpkins were still gracing door steps. It was during this trip that my interest in apples was reignited. In New York there was hot cider on sale at every market we visited and a dazzling array of heirloom apples filled boxes and baskets in many fresh produce stalls. We had a simple but tasty sugared apple tart at City Bakery and a very memorable slice of lard and butter-crusted apple pie from Shandaken Bake. Just picked, cute as a button Lady apples were presented to us as petit fours at Dan Barber’s restaurant, Blue Hills.
In San Francisco, I had apples, mascarpone and hazelnuts on generous slices of pan de mie at farm:table, and pickled apples and cajeta at Napa Valley’s Ubuntu. Bored of apples? What was I thinking!
Now in Sydney, this gentle change from Autumn into Winter reminds me of our trip and has me dreaming of apples. I was recently gifted an ice-cream machine by B’s co-workers, hence this candied apple ice-cream, which when paired with pickled apples and a spoon or two of oat crumble, creates a smile that starts at the corners of your lips and ends deep in your belly.
Candied Apple Ice-Cream :
(adapted from a recipe in Frozen Desserts by Francisco J. Migoya)
90g egg yolks
80g liquid glucose
small pinch of ground cinnamon
180g candied apples (recipe below)
If you have a Thermomix :
Place all the ingredients in a Thermomix. Cook to 76’C and pass through a fine strainer. Chill well (preferably overnight) before churning in an ice-cream maker.
In a pot, scald the milk, cream, cinnamon and glucose. Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl, add slowly add half of the hot milk mixture, whisking to combine, then pour all the contents of the bowl into the pot, whisking. Turn the heat down to medium and stir the mixture continuously until it reaches 76’C. Strain and chill well. Add the candied apples that have been pureed and strained before churning in an ice-cream machine.
For the candied apples :
20g lime juice
400g Granny Smith apples (weight after peeling and dicing into 1.25cm cubes)
In a large pan, combine the sugar, lime juice and water. Bring to boil over high heat. When the sugar begins to turn a pale yellow (130’C), add the apples and continue to cook over medium heat until the apples are translucent, about 15 minutes. Strain the apples and allow to cool on a lined tray before using.
[NB : This makes more than you need for the ice-cream mixture, but the leftovers are great as a garnish, or used in other ways, such as in an apple and ginger cake]