Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mulling It Over

Today, being the type of drizzly and dreary day only found in mid-winter, was leaving me desperate for a little flavor. I spied some mulling spices collecting dust in the cabinet and thought those would do nicely, however since it is generally considered bad taste to begin drinking at 11 am with only your children present, l figured making mulled wine was out. Feeling curious, I looked through the little recipe booklet that had accompanied the can, and not expecting to find much, stumbled upon the the greatest thing to happen to milk since the cow- Mulled Spice Ice Cream. A simple and strait forward recipe, that while still requiring the process of making a custard, was deliciously simple. After surveying the pantry for accompaniment possibilities, I become immensely glad that I am the type of person who just happens to have several pounds of apples on hand, just in case. Nothing would be more warming, or go better, than hot apple pie, and since I happened to have a jar of homemade caramel sauce left over from a few days prior, what better way to use it up than to incorporate it into the filling. Being that it was Sunday and all, it was nice to know I was creating a combination of flavors likely to bring on a religious experience. After churning up the ice cream, I worked on the pastry portion, while the girls peeled and helped slice apples. Samuel made himself useful making scrap soup. Granted, the whole process took a few hours, but it was worth it, and it was much cheaper than my other favorite dreary day diversion- shopping.

Caramel Apple Pie

Pie Crust of Choice


4 lbs granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 slices each
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 TBS lemon juice
1 1/2 TBS flour
1 1/2 cups of caramel sauce, recipe follows

1. In a large pot, stir together the apples, sugar, spices, and lemon juice, and cook uncovered over medium heat, until just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes (you do NOT want them too tender or you will end up with applesauce pie).

2. Remove from heat, stir in the flour and caramel, and allow to cool slightly.

3. Roll out your pie crusts with at least a one inch overhang from your pie plate, and pour in the filling, and top with second piece, pinching closed, creating a fluted edge. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, spread on the eggwash, and sand with extra sugar if you like.

4. Bake at 400 for an hour (check half way through-if the crust is getting too dark, cover the top with a little foil), and allow to cool for at least 45 minutes before slicing.

Caramel Sauce (make ahead)

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup cream

1. Combine the butter and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently, about 6 or 7 minutes

2. Add cream, bring to a boil, stirring constantly and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (it will thicken as it cools). Can be stored in the fridge for 1 week.

Mulled Spice Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup mulling spices
3/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla

1. In a saucepan bring the milk, cream, and mulling spices to a simmer over medium high heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand 30 minutes. Pour the mixture through a sieve and into a bowl.

2. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.

3. Return the cream mixture to the saucepan and bring back to a simmer. Slowly pour the mixture into the yolks and sugar, stirring constantly. Then pour all of it back into the pan and cook over medium low heat until thickened, about 5 minutes (do NOT allow to boil).

4. Pour the custard through a sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in the vanilla.

5. You can either nestle this bowl into another one filled with ice to cool it down to room temp before putting it into the refrigerator, or pop it in the fridge or freezer immediately (to speed up the process), stirring frequently. Either way it will need to be good and cold before churning in the ice cream maker. Churn for about 20 to 25 minutes and place in freezer to firm up.

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