Baked Apples with Cinnamon Ice Cream
As this recipe shows, apples can be one of the most terrifically versatile fruits. An ideal dinner party dessert, this festive treat takes sweet baby apples and effectively turns them into a warm, baked candy. Served with cinnamon ice cream and topped with crunchy nuts, there is an undeniable joy in every bite.
For the baked apples
- 6 small apples
- 100g butter, cut into small pieces
- 50ml honey
- 3 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 cardamom pods
For the ice cream
- 3 cups cream
- 1 cup full cream milk
- 1 vanilla pod, split and the seeds scraped out
- 50ml ground cinnamon
- 6 egg yolks
- ¾ cup castor sugar
For the crunchy nuts
- 100g peanuts
- 100ml water
- 100g sugar
Put the apples, together with the butter, honey and spices in a baking tray and place in a preheated oven of 180ºC for 12–15 minutes or until soft and slightly caramelised.
Make the ice cream by placing half the cream, milk, vanilla pod with all the scraped out seeds and the cinnamon in a heavy-based pot. Bring to the boil and then immediately take off the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks and castor sugar together until light and fluffy and a thick trail can be drawn across the surface of the mixture. This will take 10–15 minutes. Pour the warm milk into the eggs while whisking.
Place back into the pot over a low heat and stir in a figure of eight, until the mixture has formed a medium-thick custard. Pour into a container and freeze for 6–8 hours.
Beat the rest of the cream until stiff peaks have formed. Fold into the chilled custard and return to the freezer. Whisk every half hour for 4 hours.
Place the nuts on a non-stick baking tray, lined with baking paper. Heat the water and the sugar together, until the sugar has dissolved. Then, using a sugar thermometer, bring the temperature up to 148ºC, without stirring. Pour this hot syrup over the nuts and using a silicone spatula, toss once or twice. Set aside to harden and cool down. Once cooled, chop into chunks.
Serve the apples warm or cold with big scoops of ice cream and scatterings of the peanut brittle.