One of the things I love most about our new town is the Farmer's Market. There is one five days a week, each time in a different location in the surrounding area. It makes it so easy to get fresh local produce - if I can't make it on Saturday, I just go on Thursday or Monday.
Palazzi Orchard is a local farm that always has an abundance of apples in many varieties. I was so excited a few weeks ago to see that my favorite - McIntosh - were finally here! I've been snagging a bag of them each week, and I finally decided it was time to get creative and use up some caramel that was cluttering up my refrigerator.
I started with a base of cinnamon ice cream that I have made before, and added the apples and caramel, originally envisioning a beautiful swirl. I didn't get quite the swirl effect that I wanted, but I promise myself someday I will get it figured out. In the meantime, beautifully swirled or not, this is some really fantastic fall inspired ice cream!
Apple Cinnamon Caramel Ice Cream
Yield: About 4-5 cups
*I find that I can still make decent ice cream without needing a ton of heavy cream. When making it for company, I'll always go the full fat route, but for just me and my husband, I usually cut it down a little. If you are unsure of what you will like, start with the cream and half and half, working your way down on subsequent batches to see how much of a change in texture you are willing to take.
8 ounces heavy cream or half and half*
14 ounces 2% milk, whole milk, or half and half*
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
about 3 cups chopped apple, preferably McIntosh (4 medium large apples or about 1.5 pounds)
2/3 cup honey (can also use sugar)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup caramel
Heat cream, milk, cinnamon stick and ground cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until simmering, but not boiling. Turn off heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice apples. Add to a saucepan over medium-low heat, and cook down until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove cinnamon stick from cream mixture. Return cream mixture to heat, bring back to a simmer, then add honey and whisk until dissolved. Add 2 tablespoons of heated cream mixture to beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Repeat 3 more times, then add tempered eggs to the saucepan with the heated cream mixture.
Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon (approximately 160 degrees F). Strain mixture, if desired.
Puree half of the cooked apples and add to cream mixture. Add caramel to the remaining half of cooked apples and stir to combine. Cool both mixtures thoroughly, at least 4 hours in the refrigerator, preferably overnight. Add cream mixture to your ice cream maker and churn for about 25 minutes, or until it is about soft serve consistency. Add caramel apple mixture, then turn off ice cream maker, having let it just lightly swirl the caramel apple mixture into the ice cream. Alternatively, swirl in the caramel apple mixture by hand.