I am very excited to be participating in my first Sugar High Fridays blog event. This month’s event is being hosted by Andrew of Spittoon Extra , and the theme is Drunken Apples . The parameters are simple: prepare a dessert featuring apples and some form of alcohol as the main ingredients and then post about it. I must admit, I was a little daunted at first. I have been enjoying the SHF roundups for many months, drooling over the ambrosial submissions of my fellow bloggers; marvelling over their technical talent and creativity. Could I summon up a tantalizing offering worthy to stand beside theirs? I figured there’s only one way to find out.
I dove into my research, rooting through my cookbooks and combing the web for the quintessential apple recipe. Along the way, I came across some interesting bits of information. For instance, did you know that apples are a part of the rose family ? I didn’t, but apparently they are. I also discovered the probability that no other fruit plays a more prominent role in religion, literature, folklore and mythology than the noble apple. The apple has been around since the beginning of time – literally, having made its first appearance in the Garden of Eden, and gone on to star in numerous subsequent chapters in history.
The superabundance of recipe choices was dizzying! There were cakes and pies and fritters and tarts, and even apple empanadas ! The sheer numbers were staggering. This might be a good time to mention that I am terrible about making decisions. I mean, choosing between “original recipe” and “extra crispy” can break me out in a cold sweat! After three days of feverishly comparing and cross-referencing, I began to see web pages in my sleep. Obviously, I was over complicating things. I decided to stop the madness and make my own favorite apple pie. It is cozy and familiar. With a little tweaking, it would fit the Drunken Apples theme very nicely. Just to show off a little, I would also make some homemade rum raisin ice cream to go along with it. Whew! Thank goodness that was settled!
This is a really glorious pie. Instead of mixing sugar and flour into the apples themselves, this recipe calls for a cooked caramel sauce to be poured over the whole pie, crust and all. As it bakes, the caramel sauce gets all sticky and gooey, thickening up the apples as well as caramelizing the upper crust. I added in some rum-soaked raisins with a little of the soaking liquid. I don’t use cinnamon in my version, because some in my family can’t have it, but you certainly could. You could also swap out the raisins for dried cherries or cranberries. I think it would be delicious either way.
For the rum raisin ice cream, I used David’s  wonderful recipe from The Perfect Scoop . (By now, I’m sure I don’t have to tell anyone how great this book is. If you don’t already have it- buy it. You’ll be glad you did.) I modified the recipe slightly, altering the proportion of milk to cream. The ice cream turned out sinfully good! It was honestly one of the best ice creams I have ever had. Just as the pie was “sticky and gooey”, this frozen delight was “creamy and chewy”. The yin and yang of desserts, if you will.
Outside, the day was grey and damp. Inside, as my pie baked and my ice creamed churned, it was filled with the essence of comfort. Curled up on the sofa with a good book, my heart felt warm. I recalled an old favorite quote that aptly captured the spirit of this experience for me:
Caramel Apple-Raisin Pie
Adapted from AllRecipes.com
1 prepared, unbaked double pie crust (enough for a deep dish pie)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3-4 Golden Delicious apples
3-4 Granny Smith apples
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a small saucepan, combine raisins and rum. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for a few hours. (You can prepare the raisins for the ice cream together with these and save yourself a step.)
Roll out pie crust and lay bottom layer in a deep dish pie pan. Keep chilled until you are ready to fill the pie.
Peel, core and slice apples very thinly. Toss in a bowl with the raisins and 2-3 tablespoons of the rum. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let bubble for about 5 minutes.
Fill the crust with the apple and raisin mixture. Pour 3/4 of the caramel mixture over the fruit. Cover with the upper crust and crimp the edges of the top and bottom crusts together to seal.
Cut several slits in the top crust. Pour the rest of the caramel mixture over the crust, very carefully so that it doesn’t run off the pie.
Bake 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40-45 minutes, until crust is brown and caramelized.
Serve with rum raisin ice cream. (Recipe below)
Rum Raisin Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop
2/3 cup dark and light raisins (I used red flame raisins, because I had them.)
1/2 cup dark rum (Use as good a rum as you can get. It will make a difference. I used Appleton’s)
1-inch strip of orange zest
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
Heat the raisins, rum, and orange zest in a small saucepan. Let simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for a few hours.
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the heavy cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warmed milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
Pour the custard through a strainer and into the cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath, then chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator for several hours.
When ready to freeze the ice cream, drain the raisins over a bowl and reserve the rum. Discard the orange zest.
Measure the drained rum and add more, if necessary, so that you have a total of 3 tablespoons. Stir the rum into the custard.
Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the rum-soaked raisins.