Apple Crisp & Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream

There’s something about the combination of slow cooked apples under a dark, caramelized crumble, topped with Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream that makes this Apple Crisp an unforgettable dessert.

I am in the middle of an sun drenched apple orchard living the dream if only for a couple hours, close enough to home to know that I wont get lost is the allure of an idyllic farm life. Within a couple hours I can go back to the safety of a rumbling subway and the smell of dust and smog. We pick apples and laugh at each other’s incapacity to harvest, with a few too many to eat, of different colors shapes and sizes; big ones, little ones, red ones and yellow ones. Some are tart, some are sweet, but they are all ripe and delicious.

With a bag full of apples, a relaxed-Saturday-afternoon-kind-of ambition, and a big craving for something scrumptious and decadent, I set out to bake a sweet, cinnamon bursting apple crisp. Warm, spicy and sweet, with the right combination of tang and decadence that begs for seconds even after one too many slices.

This recipe is laid back and effortless: the filling, a simple combination of a variety of apples, cinnamon, and honey; the crust, dates, oats, and walnuts.   A scoop of vanilla bourbon coconut ice cream will take this dessert to the next level by coating every bite with a creamy cold layer of mild sweetness and booze. As the combination of cold and warm hit your tongue, a flavor explosion quickly follows, encouraging your taste buds sing in delight.

The combination of slow cooked apples covered with a deep, dark, caramel tasting crumbly crust, topped with vanilla ice cream is unforgettable, heart warming. Each bite might just transport you to a tree covered hill oozing with the intoxicating aroma of sweet fall apples, a place so familiar and welcoming as a great apple crisp.

Apple Crisp & Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream

Serves 6

Cook time 1 hour, plus freezing time for ice cream

Notes: The Apple Crisp recipe is adapted from Mark Bitman’s The Minimalist. The ice cream recipe is a variation on last weeks Honey Date Coconut Ice Cream. It has been spiked with bourbon and vanilla extract for a boozy frozen treat that pairs beautifully with the Crisp. Ideally, make the ice cream a day before planning on serving this dessert, as it takes several hours for it to freeze. 

To make the ice cream

  • 1 14oz. can best quality light coconut milk
  • ¼ cup raw local honey, or maple syrup if vegan
  • 2 tbsp. good quality bourbon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut yogurt, such as Anita’s Creamline Coconut Yogurt
  • 4 dates, pitted

Place coconut milk from one can of coconut milk in a large pot. Place over very low heat. Stir in honey. Whisk until honey dissolves into the milk. Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and bourbon. Add 1 cup of coconut yogurt and whisk together. Add four pitted dates into the coconut mixture. Refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour, but up to four. Transfer mixture into blender. Blend at high speed for a minute or so, until dates have been fully incorporated into coconut mixture. Pour coconut mixture into pre-frozen ice cream machine; turn on at the lowest speed and leave running for approximately 35-40 minutes, depending on how cold or hot your kitchen is. Once the mixture looks like a thick milk shake, remove and freeze in a sealed container until hardened (3-4 hours)

For the apple crisp

Filling

  • 6-7 apples, preferably a combination of different types
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. raw local honey, or maple syrup if vegan

Crust

  • ¾ cups gluten-free oats
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. raw local honey, or maple syrup if vegan
  • 4 tbsp. coconut oil, plus more for greasing baking pan
  • 4 pitted dates
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • small pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. With about a teaspoon of coconut oil, grease a 9” diameter round pie pan. Peel and core apples, then slice thinly. Place sliced apples in a bowl with cinnamon and honey. Stir until everything is well incorporated. Transfer onto pan. Place walnuts and oats into a food processor. Pulse until slightly chopped. Add honey, coconut oil, dates, cinnamon and salt. Pulse until well incorporated but still coarse, do not puree. Spread the crumble over the apples. Do not worry about it being perfect, this crisp should be rustic. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven once apples are full cooked and soft, and topping is golden. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with a scoop, or two, of ice cream.