Today’s gray, rainy, and windy morning somehow managed to turn into a still windy but wonderfully sunny, blue-skied afternoon. Since it was Friday, and I already had the pictures edited and recipe typed for today’s post, I thought I’d take a walk up in Montmartre after work. I mean, what’s the point of living in Paris if you can’t take some time to get out and enjoy it every now and then? Besides, I’M ON VACATION! (WHOO-HOO! Excuse me.) It just seemed like an appropriate celebration of a sunny, almost-Spring day to take a walk in one of Paris’ hilliest, most convoluted neighborhoods. Oh, I had a reason, and a purpose to my visit, which you’ll learn about soon enough, but I resolved not to just head-down, look-at-the-Google-map-on-my-phone my way to where I was going. No, I wanted to get a little turned around (which I definitely did), look at some beautiful architecture (I think my favorites are the elaborate apartment buildings built in the first decade of the 20th century), and maybe even get some exercise (thank you, rues Lamarck and Caulaincourt and your intervening staircases).
Sorry, none of this really has anything to do with ice cream. I made ice cream. I’ve done it before. But not in my own ice cream maker in Paris. I wanted to try something new to christen the new appliance, and I wanted to use apples, because that’s the only fruit we get in the CSA this time of year, and they tend to pile up. So I caramelized a whole bunch of them, and pureed them with a standard, less-sweet vanilla custard, to which I’d added a soupçon of bourbon. The sorbetière worked its magic, and now I have a big container of original ice cream in my freezer. I wanted a sauce to go with it, so I whipped up a quick caramel sauce with toasted pecans. I didn’t write the recipe, because it’s too simple: caramelize sugar, add cream, stir in toasted pecan pieces and salt. Spoon over ice cream and eat.
Click on through for the ice cream recipe, if you want it.
Bourbon Caramel Apple Ice Cream
This recipe started life as a sophisticated tarte tatin ice cream. A little crème fraîche, a puff pastry garnish… and it just started to feel too fussy. A wallop of bourbon helped to loosen things up.
For the apples:
6 medium apples (about 1½ lb./740g), peeled, cored, and quartered
1½ oz./45g unsalted butter (3 Tbsp.)
2½ oz./75g sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp.)
A healthy splash of bourbon
- Melt the butter in a medium nonstick skillet. Add the sugar and cook until the sugar starts to melt. Place the apple quarters in the sauce and cook over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until evenly caramelized. Pour some bourbon over the apples and cook a few more minutes to evaporate and loosen the caramel. Remove from heat.
For the custard:
1 cup/240 ml milk, preferably whole
1 cup/240 ml cream
½ vanilla bean
¼ cup/55 g (just shy of 2 oz.) sugar
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1 Tbsp./15 ml bourbon
Caramelized apples (see above)
- Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds into the milk, and drop the bean in there. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to make sure the bottom isn’t scorching. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a heatproof bowl.
- When the milk simmers, reduce the heat and pour some of the hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking vigorously. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon or reaches 175F/80C.
- Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon. Add the apples and all the caramelized juices and purée with an immersion blender (this can also be done in batches in a regular blender, but you should probably let it cool down first). Strain into a clean container and chill thoroughly.
- Freeze in your ice cream maker, according to its instructions.
Makes a generous quart/liter.
On this day in 2008: Winter Duck Dinner
Originally published on Croque-Camille.