Of all the ice cream recipes I have made, the apple caramel ice cream recipe is my favorite. The granny smith apples add a tartness to contrast the sweetness of the ice cream and caramel! The apples are cooked until they are just getting soft so they still have some texture when you eat the ice cream.
Dice the peeled granny smith apples to 3/4 inch pieces. Add the apples, maple syrup, and the butter to a saute pan and cook until the apples are just starting to get tender. When they are at that point, take the pan off the heat and let them cool.
The ice cream
The yolks for the ice cream need to be in another bowl with enough room for the egg yolks and some of the cream mixture. In a medium saute pan (or something close to it) over medium heat, bring the sugar, cream, half and half, and salt to about 160 degrees F. Make sure you are whisking the mixture as it heats. When heated, pour about 1/3 of the cream mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks. Make sure you are whisking the egg yolks as you are pouring.
The point of tempering is to not scramble the eggs when combining with the hot milk mixture. Slowly adding the milk mixture and whisking as you add it will bring you success. Next, pour the tempered eggs back into the cream mixture and keep whisking. Continue heating and whisking until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
The vanilla ice cream recipe just has to cool and it will be ready for the ice cream machine. After the custard coats the back of a spoon, take it off of the heat. Let the mixture cool to the touch. Then take a piece of plastic wrap and set it on the surface of the custard. This keeps the custard from forming a “skin”. Set the covered custard in the fridge for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight, before making the ice cream. Then follow the directions provided by your ice cream maker manufacturer.
The first step to a successful caramel is to have your ingredients prepped and ready before you start. Timing is important in this recipe and preparation can reduce the stress of making caramel in the beginning. You will need to watch the changing color of the caramel closely to avoid burning. Here is a link to my video on YouTube of the caramel being made.
Do not taste the sugar or dip your finger in the sugar while cooking. The sugar gets very very hot and will burn you when it is melted. At first, the sugar seems to take forever to start melting. However, when the sugar starts melting things start to move pretty quickly. The sugar will start showing some light brown liquid areas. I personally start stirring frequently at this point.
Next you will see small chunks of sugar that don’t seem to melt. Do not worry, they will melt. The chunks will go away and the sugar will start turning darker. Be careful not to burn the sugar. Once the sugar reaches a dark amber color turn the fire off and take the caramel off of the burner.
Next, add all of the butter you have ready to go into the melted sugar. Stir the butter and melted sugar until combined. The pan that you use and the melted sugar will both retain enough heat to melt the butter. When the butter is combined add the cream and stir until combined. The cream may bubble up a bit but keep stirring. If you think the cream is not combining, put the pan back on low heat for a minute or two until combined.
As the caramel starts to cool it is time to add the salt if you want salted caramel. While stirring, add the salt and keep stirring until dissolved and combined. You do not need to add the salt if you would like to make a regular caramel sauce.
Finishing it up
Add the apples when the ice cream is about 3/4 of the way through churning. When the churning process is done swirl the caramel into the ice cream. I used one cup of caramel but you can use as little or as much as you like! Enjoy!
Apple Caramel Ice Cream
- 1 Ice Cream Machine
- Place diced apples, maple syrup, and butter in a pan. Cook over medium heat until the apples are just starting to soften.
- Set aside to cool.
- Prepare vanilla ice cream custard
- Prepare salted caramel recipe. Let cool to room temperature.
- When vanilla ice cream ice ¾ of the way through the churning process, add the apples to the ice cream to combine for the last ¼ of the churning process.
- When churning is finished, swirl in caramel with a spoon then freeze.