We’ve been having a lot of rich, cakey and often chocolatey desserts lately, it seems, and I wanted to change things up. Maybe something with fruit. Because fruit makes it healthy, right?

RIGHT?!

I thought so.

An apple crisp with a good, crunchy, oat-y topping seemed like just the thing. And then I remembered a recipe for cinnamon ice cream that popped up in my google reader in the fall. Apple crisp with homemade cinnamon ice cream? Yes please!

The recipe came together fairly quicky, once I peeled and chopped up all the apples. I was rushing and some of the apple chunks were a bit big, so there were some bites that were still pretty crunchy. I think next time I’ll slice the apples rather than make chunks, because they didn’t really cook down to my liking. I liked that the topping whirled together very quickly in my food processor. It’s a very yummy crisp, and the topping is really good.

But the star of the show was definitely the ice cream. I was bustling about the kitchen making dinner while James emptied the ice cream maker into a Tupperware so we could pop it into the freezer to firm up before dinner, when he stopped me with a spoonful of the ice cream. It knocked my socks off! It’s rich and delicious with a wonderful cinnamony flavor. You wouldn’t even know it doesn’t have eggs in it, it was so rich and creamy.

Apple Crisp

From America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

For the filling:
3 lb apples (6 to 9), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the topping:
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted (or almonds or pecans)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (I used quick oats)

1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the apples, cornstarch, sugar, lemon and cinnamon. (I also added a pinch of nutmeg and cloves.) Transfer the fruit filling to an 8-inch square baking dish, cover with foil, and set on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet (for easy cleanup) (I forgot to do this and it wasn’t an issue). Bake the fruit until it is hot and has released its juices, 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, pulse the walnuts, flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a food processor until the nuts are finely chopped, about 9 pulses. Drizzle the melted butter over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles crumbly, wet sand, about 5 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and pinch between your fingers into pea-sized pieces (with some smaller loose bits) (oops I forgot to do this!).

3. Remove the fruit from the oven, uncover, and stir gently. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit. Bake the crisp until the topping is deep golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 15 minutes, rotating the dish halfway through baking. Let the crisp cool for ten minutes before serving.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

I got it from Erin’s Food Files. Erin got it from Demolition Desserts, by Elizabeth Faulker, as seen on MarthaStewart

Yields: 4.5 cups

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup turbinado sugar (I used regular granulated sugar)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside.

Combine the milk, sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture just begins to bubble and sugar has dissolved, 6 to 8 minutes. Add cream, vanilla, and salt; stir to combine. Pour mixture into a medium bowl set in the ice-water bath. Stir occasionally until cooled. Cover and transfer to refrigerator until chilled at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Stir mixture briefly; pour into an ice-cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store ice cream in a covered container in the freezer, at least 1 hour and up to 1 week. Ice cream is best served within 3 days.

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