Serves 4

I love the idea of apple ice cream, but I have often been disappointed with the end result; it always seems to taste just a little too much like baby food for my liking. Recently I started experimenting; I was trying to come up with something that tasted very clearly of apple, with a clean, slightly lemony bite. This is what I created; I think it's quite good.

5 apples (I use a mixture of russet and cox)
The juice of one lemon
30ml/1fl oz apple brandy, or cognac
150g/5fl oz caster sugar
160ml/5fl oz double cream
10 cobnuts

For the caramel sauce

250g/8oz golden caster sugar
125ml/4oz water
250ml/8fl oz double cream
A pinch of salt

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.

Peel and core the apples and chop into small pieces. Place in a blender with the lemon juice and purée until smooth. Pour in the brandy, add the sugar and blend again, pour in the cream and process to

combine. Taste. It should be sweet and boozy with a sharp, clean apple finish. Pour into an ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

For the caramel sauce, place the sugar and water in a small, heavy-based saucepan, place over a low heat, stirring once to combine and cook very gently until the sugar dissolves. Once it has dissolved, turn the heat up to medium and cook, without stirring, until a rich, dark caramel forms. This will take up to 10 minutes. Watch it carefully because it can quickly burn, but take it to a deep mahogany – undercooked caramel tastes very insipid.

Remove from the heat and pour in the cream; stand back as it tends to splutter. Once it has died down, throw in the pinch of salt, return to the heat and stir with a spoon; cook for a minute or so, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Place the cobnuts on a baking tray and roast until golden; this should take about six minutes. Remove and allow to cool, chop roughly.

To serve, scoop the ice cream into bowls, spoon over a little caramel sauce and sprinkle over the toasted nuts. Serve immediately.

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