Saturday, August 31, 2013

Spiced Apple and Honey Ice Cream

This year we are hosting our first Rosh Hashanah dinner.  Instead of the traditional brisket or roastchicken, we are serving chicken fesenjan, a Persian dish that contains pomegranates, a fruit often associated with the Jewish New Year.

For dessert I made this ice cream which includes apples and honey, which symbolize a sweet new year.  The Ashkenazi community first linked these ingredients with Rosh Hashanah in late medieval times; now the association is widespread throughout the Jewish community.

The apple has particular significance for several reasons: Rosh Hashanah is believed to be the day when God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the garden is believed to have had the scent of an apple orchard; ancient Jews believed apples had healing properties; the apple is also considered by some to represent the feminine aspect of God and eating apples represents our hope of being well-judged by him.

This ice cream can be served alone or as an accompaniment to honey or apple cake.  Other dishes that can be served at Rosh Hashanah include pomegranate couscous, noodle kugel, and honey cake.  Each of them contain some of the ingredients associated with this holiday.

Serves 10


Spiced apples
3 large apples, cored, peeled, sliced, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch of salt

Ice cream
3 cups heavy cream
9 large egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vodka or other neutral alcohol (optional, to lower freezing temperature)
1/2 cup apple sauce (ideally one with a strong, spicy flavor)

1.     In a medium saucepan, combine the spiced apples ingredients.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the apples are tender and all the liquid has evaporated.  This should take about 10 minutes.  Let the apples cool and then place them in the fridge to chill.
2.     Pour 2 cups of heavy cream into a large bowl and set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth.
3.     Combine the milk, sugar, salt, and remaining heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Once the mixture is warm and just begins to bubble, slowly pour about half of it into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium high heat.
4.     Cook the mixture, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until it thickens and coats a spatula or spoon (about 170-175° F).  Pour the mixture through a strainer into the large bowl with cream (this will remove any egg that has cooked).
5.     Mix in the vanilla and vodka.  Thoroughly chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.  Lay plastic wrap on the mixture so that a skin does not form.
6.     Pour the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker, and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  About 10 minutes before the end of the cycle, add apple sauce to the ice cream.
7.     In the final minute, add the cooled spiced apple mixture until well incorporated.

8.     Remove and store in an airtight container for up to three months.

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