Why It Works
- Cooking chopped apples to a golden mush gives this ice cream a delicate but deep apple-ness.
- Unlike baked pastry crust, tea or digestive biscuits adapt well to freezing.
I'm not saying you shouldn't have pie. I'm saying that pie is hard, and ice cream is comparatively easy, and the surprise of homemade ice cream—let alone homemade picecream is enough to convince most people that you're a domestic force to be reckoned with. And isn't Thanksgiving really about showing your in-laws how much of a better cook you are?
Kidding aside, this is one ice cream you can use as long as the weather's cool. It's rich and dense, with a delicate but deep caramel apple-ness that comes from cooking four cups of chopped apples into one cup of burnished, golden apple mush. With that much apple flavor, you don't need much in the way of spices—just a tinge of cinnamon to round everything out.
Pie crust, as it turns out, doesn't take very well to ice cream. The butter-rich pastry freezes firm and crumbly, unfriendly to both an ice cream scoop and an eater's molars. Tea biscuits, those cookies the British also call "digestives," have a light buttery flavor and a softer, cake-like texture perfect for ice cream. And they're way easier than making pie crust.
You don't need to reconsider pie this Thanksgiving, but you should reconsider what goes on top of it. Whipped cream is nice, and store-bought ice cream works in a pinch. But if you're looking to take your dessert in a new direction, ice cream will do you right.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound apples, such as Fuji or Cortland, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
- 7 egg yolks
- 2 cups cream
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup roughly chopped tea biscuits
In a large, heavy saucepan, melt butter on medium heat until foam subsides, then raise heat to high and stir in apples and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until apples begin to break down into something like applesauce, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until apples become a relatively smooth sauce that can be dragged across the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add 1/4 cup sugar, increase heat to high, and cook until apples turn a dark caramel color, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
Transfer apples to a blender and add evaporated milk. Purée for 30 seconds until very smooth. Set saucepan aside to cool.
Whisk together egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan until well combined, then whisk in apple purée, cream, cinnamon, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook on medium heat, whisking frequently to dissolve browned pits in bottom of pan, until a custard forms on the back of a spoon but a swiped finger leaves a clean line, 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour custard through a strainer into an airtight container, cover, and chill overnight or at least 6 hours. The next day, churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer back to airtight container, quickly stir in tea biscuits, and chill in freezer for at least 3 hours before serving.