This perfectly portioned cup will make you rethink apple pie. We focused on the alla mode by making homemade cinnamon ice cream and pairing it with brown sugar bourbon sautéed apples. The ice cream is made in advance so it’s stress free and the apples take less than 5 minutes to make. Top it with fresh mint and you have a winner.
For the ice cream, pre-freeze ice cream maker bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 C. cream and 1 C. milk. Add 3/4 C. plus 2 T. sugar, 1/4 t. cinnamon, and 1 cinnamon stick. Stir to dissolve sugar and heat over medium to medium-low heat to scald milk and incorporate cinnamon powder. Try not to let it come to a boil. Remove heat just before it reaches a boil. You will start to see steam coming off of it and possibly tiny bubbles forming around the edges of the pan. In a small bowl, beat two egg yolks (reserve whites for another use). Temper the eggs with the cream mixture. If you’re not familiar with that, I will explain. Add a ladleful of the hot cream to the egg mixture and whisk rapidly so the eggs don’t scramble. I usually repeat this with a second ladleful before dumping the now-tempered eggs into the saucepan and whisking the mixture rapidly. You will have successfully just tempered your eggs. Cool the cream mixture over an ice bath (a large bowl of ice water that sits under the saucepan but be careful not to tip the pan) stirring to bring down the temperature. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard. Add a splash of vanilla – about 1/2 t. and stir. Then place mixture in pre-frozen ice cream maker and churn. Once it’s airy and creamy, transfer to a quart container and place in freezer. Do this well ahead do you have no stress.
On Thanksgiving, simply slice cored apples about 1/8” thick. I don’t even bother peeling them and use about one large apple for every two to three people. Soak in cool water with a splash of lemon juice so they don’t oxidize. You can do this the night before, too. Right before serving, heat a little butter in a medium sauté pan (about 1 -2 t. per apple). Let melt. Add apples and saute about two minutes until beginning to tenderize. Then add brown sugar (you can use roughly an equivalent amount as you used butter) and let caramelize about 30 seconds. **Very important: remove pan from heat and turn off flame. Add about 1-2 T. Bourbon and place pan back on burner, and very carefully reignite burner flame. The apples will ignite to burn off the alcohol so DO NOT stand over the pan. The flame will dissipate when the alcohol is cooked off in about 10 seconds. If you do not feel comfortable with this step or don’t want to use liquor, just add a small splash of vanilla extract and call it a day.
Layer warm apples with ice cream in cups and top with chopped mint. The mint makes it killer so do not skip unless you must.