As far as farms go, my family’s is pretty unique. It’s both a fully operational dairy farm and apple orchard. Normally, one would pick one or the other. Truly, aside from both being farms, they are entirely different businesses. Clearly I come from a long line of over-achievers (or maybe over-committers…).
There actually was some rationale to my intrepid ancestors structuring the business this way that we won’t get into now. Though I don’t believe it had anything to do with being able to exploit the two operations for – you guessed it – ice cream. Hmm…do I taste a potential business opportunity?
And so, that brings us to this grande experiment: apple cider ice cream.
An Epic Challenge
I have my dad to thank for all this. One day, no doubt following a daily after-dinner dose of ice cream (seriously, where do you think I get it from?), inspiration struck. “I wonder if we could come up with some sort of apple ice cream product for the farm?,” he thought.
Never one to shy away from an ice cream challenge, that was enough to set me off on an epic quest to find an answer (or few) to this awesome question.
Now, having conducted more experiments than I care to disclose, consulted a couple of ice cream and food science experts, and engaged the palates of numerous unsuspecting taste testers, I can share a few of the successes worth trying at home.
But first, let me frame my experiment by providing some important ice cream definitions.
The graphic below gives a great general description of each of the basic types of frozen treats. You’ll note the key differences have to do with the presence of dairy, ice crystals and air.
Sorbets and sherbets are where often where we often see more fruit infusions. There are some scientific reasons for this. However, as we all well know, there are also many exceptions to that rule. So, in the spirit of experimentation, I am immediately going off the beaten path and focusing my first trials on infusing traditional dairy-based ice cream treats with some apple goodness.
As American As Apple Pie
In the world of hard ice cream, there are generally two styles: French and American (also known as Philadelphia-style). French is custard-style, made with egg yolks, while American features only milk, cream and sugar.
This first recipe is the latter, a simple American-style that requires very little prep work. Just throw all the ingredients together and churn. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
The result is extremely light and fluffy, with a lovely hint-of-fall spiciness. The cider is very subtle, so if you’re looking for a stronger punch of flavor (which I am), this one unfortunately does not deliver. However, it would pair nicely with a warm slice of apple or pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. I also enjoyed it with a drizzle of some homemade caramel sauce over the top.
Obviously, this is only the beginning of my grande experiment. Stay tuned for more soon…
Easy Apple Cider Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup apple cider
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- Add all ingredients into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s directions.
- Transfer into a freezer container and freeze until hard, approximately 4 hours.
Yields: 1 quart
Adapted from: Frugal Living Mom