Apple Crisp with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Who wants a simple and tasty dessert? Don’t all raise your hands at once! We love dessert, and we really love ice cream, especially when it’s homemade! This recipe is our take on the classic apple crisp with the extra special touch of creamy homemade vanilla bean ice cream. It’s cinnamon-y, it’s fruity, it’s crispy, it’s warm, it’s cool. It’s really all the things a great dessert should be—all in one delectable bite.
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups half and half
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean (recommended, but optional)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (can use 1 ½ teaspoons if not using a vanilla bean)
Cinnamon sticks (for garnish)
1 box rock salt
1 10-pound bag of ice (you may want more if you’re making this outside in warm weather)
2 pounds tart baking apples (Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Granny Smith are recommended, so you can get red and green colors in the crisp too.)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I like a lot of cinnamon, so you can use half as much if you want to.)
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
1 additional teaspoon of butter for coating the cast iron skillets
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 9-inch cast iron skillet or 4 small cast iron skillets for individual servings
Note: Before you get started, place the ice cream canister in the freezer to chill for half an hour.
Combine the half and half, cream, and sugar in a medium-sized pan and cook over medium-low heat. Be sure you stir often, so the sugar doesn’t burn. Cook for about 3–4 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved.
Remove the pan from heat and add the vanilla bean and extract. Leave the pan off the heat to chill for 30 minutes. You can also make this ahead of time and chill it in the refrigerator.
Once cooled, make your ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions. It usually works best to make the ice cream, put a lid on it, and place in the freezer to harden some more before eating.
Whisk the cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl, making sure to remove any clumps.
Thinly slice all of the apples to about ¼ inch thick, discarding the seeds and core. You can peel the apples if you want to, but we personally like the peels for color and a little texture. The peels soften nicely, but they also hold the apple slices together.
Add the apples to a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice. Stir the apples to fully coat them with the mixture.
Pour the cinnamon mixture onto the apples and stir in to coat the apples.
Coat the cast iron skillets with butter, so the crisps don't stick. Then, add the apples to each dish and spread them out evenly.
Add the flour, pecans, brown sugar, baking powder, oats, and salt into a mixing bowl and whisk together.
Add the room temperature butter into the mixture and use a fork or pastry cutter to break the butter into smaller pieces and combine with the dry ingredients. The texture should be pea-sized crumbs when mixed properly.
Spoon the topping over the apples in the pans.
Place the apple crumble dishes in a preheated 375-degree grill with indirect heat. The crisp will be finished when the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling on the sides. This should take about 30–40 minutes.
Remove the cast iron skillet (or skillets) from the grill and let rest/cool for 10 minutes before serving. Allowing the caramelized fruit to set will make it easier to serve.
Remove your ice cream from the freezer. Add a scoop of your delicious homemade vanilla bean ice cream on top and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Serve and enjoy!