Sunday, 27 October 2013

APPLE AND SALTED CARAMEL ICE-CREAM

Autumn's here and the clocks went back by an hour last night. Meanwhile the biggest storm of the century (so far) is predicted later this weekend. Time to hunker down then and to use up some of our glut of apples. This ice-cream has an unusual combination of sweet, sharp and bitter flavours (think toffee apples); it is soft textured, with chewy bits of apple and contrasting shards of brittle/melting caramel.
Ingredients

For the caramel brittle:
100g  granulated white sugar
¾ tsp  flakes of sea salt.


For the ice cream custard:
400ml  unsweetened apple juice
juice of ½ lemon
250ml  milk

300g  granulated white sugar
60 gr  salted butter
½ tsp  flakes of sea salt
200ml  double cream
300g  apple
5  egg whites
100g granulated white sugar.
 
1   Make the caramel brittle
     Place a silicone/Teflon mat (or a lightly oiled sheet of baking parchment) on a baking tray. Have this close to hand when cooking the caramel.
     Scatter the sugar evenly across a heavy bottomed pan and heat gently until it melts. Opinion is divided about whether or not to stir the sugar as it melts - safer to roll it around the pan until all is melted. For the proper bitter flavour, let the mixture brown until just before it burns - your nose is the best guide here. Then IMMEDIATELY scatter ¾ teaspoon of flaked sea salt into the pan and pour the caramel evenly over the prepared silicone sheet, tilting the tray to help it spread as evenly and thinly as possible. Once it has cooled and set hard, shatter the caramel into small shards which will be folded into the ice-cream as it freezes.

2   Prepare for making the ice cream.
     Simmer apple juice (freshly juiced if possible) and juice of half a lemon until reduced to 200ml.  Cool and keep to one side.
     Core, peel and dice the apple (into approx. 2cm squares) and plunge into cold water with juice of half a lemon to prevent discolouring.
     Half fill a large bowl with ice and water, and set a smaller bowl in the water - the ice bath will cool the ice cream mixture quickly. Place the milk in the bowl to cool.
3   Make the ice cream
     Prepare caramel in exactly the same way as before, with 300g sugar. As soon as it is ready, remove from the heat a stir in the slightly salted butter. Once the butter has melted, add the salt and cream and mix.
     Return the pan to a low heat; any lumps that have formed will melt away. Stir in the drained diced apple and let it cook for a couple of minutes; do not allow the apple to get soft. Pour in the prepared reduced apple juice and add the whole mixture to the milk in the ice bath and let it cool.
 
      Whip the egg whites to soft peaks and then beat in the sugar. Once the ice-cream mixture is cool, gently fold in the soft meringue, keeping the air in as far as possible. It won't necessarily all mix smoothly initially, but repeated folding as it sets in the freezer will solve this; it is easier to control the texture of this particular ice cream by using the freezer and by repeatedly folding from sides to centre, but churn in an ice-cream maker if preferred. Once the ice-cream is almost firm but before it freezes hard, stir in the small shards of caramel brittle.
     Because of the caramel, the ice cream never sets too hard, so can usually be served direct from the freezer. Serve it with extra caramel and thin slices of fresh apple - or even caramelised apple slices for a bit more sweetness; alternatively, sticks of shortbread work well, and add another texture and flavour.

 
 

1 comment:

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