Homemade Apple Pie Gelato in a Sugar Cookie Crust

Whew, that title is a mouthful. I may or may not also happen to have a mouthful of this homemade, healthier apple pie gelato right now as I type. I’ll never tell.
Apple Pie Gelato in Sugar Cookie Crust

I love apple pie.
I love gelato.
I love apple pie with gelato.
And now I love apple pie made of gelato.

Whoa baby.

In all honesty, you don’t need to put this gelato in a sugar cookie crust. Between its vanilla base and chunks of apples sauteed in brown sugar and cinnamon, believe me it can hold its own. And just like this Homemade Pumpkin Spice Gelato, there’s no heavy cream at all! A fab, indulgent-tasting dessert that won’t put you on your 2014 resolution naughty list.

Let’s say that’s all well and good, but you’re looking to make something with a little extra somethin’ somethin’. Let’s talk the sugar cookie crust. I quartered my go-to sugar cookie recipe (my Grandma’s!), cut out a circle that would adequately cover the bottom and sides of my ramekin (this one from World Market), pressed the dough inside, and baked along with the standard sized sugar cookies I cut out from the rest of the dough. I kept the ramekin in the oven for a few minutes longer than the cookies, and once done, I let it cool before beginning the gelato. However if you’re looking to spread out the steps, feel free to bake the cookie crust the day before. The important thing here is that you fill the crust with gelato and even out the top right when the gelato is finished in the ice cream maker. That way it’s still soft and easy to handle rather than frozen after spending some quality time in the freezer.

The gelato pie can be served immediately, or placed in the freezer for an hour or two if you’d prefer slices with a more crisp edge. I wouldn’t keep the pie in the freezer for too long though, a) because you don’t want the cookie crust to lose its freshly-baked taste, and b) after smelling the sugar cookies baking and the apples sauteing, you’re going to deprive yourself for much longer? I didn’t think so.

Apple pie gelato

Homemade Apple Pie Gelato in a Sugar Cookie Crust

Sugar Cookie Dough
yields approximately 15-18 standard-size cookies (or mini pie crust here and a few standard-size cookies…for, uhhh, quality-control)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1. Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla extract. Blend well.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

3. Add flour mixture gradually to butter mixture until all combined.

4. Chill dough thoroughly.

Sugar cookie doughWrapped up and ready to chill.

5. Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll dough onto floured work surface to 1/4″ thickness. I freehanded a circular shape a little larger than the ramekin I was using to account for the dough needed to cover the sides. I also used a cookie cutter to cut shapes from the remaining dough. Grease ramekin and press circular shaped-dough against bottom and sides. *Tip – I wouldn’t let the dough extend as far beyond the edge of the ramekin as I did in the picture below. During baking, the edges fell and baked against it, making it nearly impossible to remove the finished slices without cutting that part of the crust away from the pie.

Sugar crust pre-bake
6. Place all on an ungreased cookie sheet – cookies and ramekin. Bake 6-8 minutes or until edges just begin to brown for regular cookie shapes, but pie crust may take longer. My pie crust was in for approximately 12 minutes.

Apple Pie Gelato

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 egg yolks
very small pinch salt
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, divided

2 apples, peeled and diced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided

Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

To make the healthier gelato base, I followed steps #1-6 of my Homemade Pumpkin Spice Gelato Affogato recipe (milk through vanilla extract ingredients above). While your mixture is chilling, continue with steps below.

7. Peel apples, remove core and seeds, and dice them into small chunks.

Dicing apples
8. Saute apples over medium-low heat with butter, brown sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon until apples have softened slightly and are coated throughout with the butter/brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Apples sauteing
9. Refrigerate sauteed apples until they are cold. Both the gelato base and apples should be chilled before continuing.

10. Remove gelato base and apples from the refrigerator. Pour gelato base into your ice cream maker and prepare according to your ice cream maker’s directions. Once you begin to see gelato base thickening around the edges of the ice cream maker, add remaining 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Slowly add apples until all are integrated.

11. Once gelato is done, scoop enough out to fill sugar cookie pie crust and smooth out the top. Scoop excess gelato into an airtight container and freeze. You can serve the pie immediately, or cover in an airtight-container and freeze for an hour or so if you’d prefer a more solid, frozen gelato pie filling. If freezing, run a sharp knife under hot water, blot knife with cloth or paper towel to remove water drops, and proceed to cut into pie. Garnish with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon (optional), and enjoy.

Apple Pie Gelato with Sugar CrustSugar cookie pie crust with gelato right out of the ice cream maker.

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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Gelato Affogato

…aka the luxe pumpkin spice latte.

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Hubba hubba.

There are two ways I handle a “sweet” craving – a) jump in the car and head to the self-serve fro yo shop down the street (so as to satisfy it immediately), or b) dream up a recipe that’s detail-heavy and time-intensive (delayed gratification at its finest). Usually, there’s no middle ground.

The inspiration for the delicious concoction above came early one morning before work, as my non-caffeinated self spaced out and stared into the cabinet above our coffee maker, willing my morning fuel to drip just a little bit faster. Nothing ground-breaking spurred my thinking. Really, my gaze just happened to be fixated on a set of tea cups decked out in a festive little winter scene ($1 each at Home Goods – score!) and BAM, it hit me. These cups are just meant for a souped up PSL.

Never mind that I’d never made homemade ice cream before, or even owned an ice cream maker. Go big or go home, baby.

Sure, this recipe takes some planning. My (newly purchased) ice cream maker requires the bowl to be frozen, which can take a few hours. Then the egg/milk/sugar mixture needs to be refrigerated for a few hours. A few hours plus a few hours does not instant gratification make. But trust me, it’s worth it.

And did I mention that this recipe (which is extremely loosely based on the vanilla ice cream recipe in the accompanying Cuisinart instruction booklet) doesn’t call for any heavy cream? Nope, don’t need it! You just saved yourself hundreds of calories, and your taste buds won’t even know the difference.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Gelato Affogato

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup white sugar, divided
3 egg yolks
very small pinch salt
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger
pinch of ground cloves
brewed espresso

1. Combine milk and 1/4 cup of white sugar in a saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat, until just barely boiling.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks and the other 1/4 cup of white sugar in a large bowl (you can also use a hand mixer). Mix until it looks light and creamy:

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3. When milk is barely boiling, slowly (SLOWLY!) pour the milk/sugar mixture into the egg/sugar mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, until all incorporated. Whisk continuously.
4. Once everything is combined, pour mixture back into saucepan and stir continuously over low heat until mixture sticks to back of wooden spoon.
5. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract.
6. The mixture needs to be cold, so stick in the refrigerator for at least a few hours.
7. Once cold, remove from fridge and whisk in pumpkin puree, brown sugar, remaining 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, and spices until smooth.
8. Prepare according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. For me, this part took about 20 minutes.
9. The gelato is good to go as soon as it’s finished (grab a spoon!), or can be frozen for a little while afterward for a more solid consistency.
10. To make it in the affogato style (did you know affogato means “drowned” in Italian?), brew some espresso, and pour about a shot’s worth over top of gelato. Not into coffee? No problem! This is super delicious as straight-up gelato, as well.

Yields about 6 servings (obviously, this is dependent on your preferred serving size!)

All in all, sure it would be easier to pop into a Starbucks, grab a PSL, and head on your merry way, but the extra effort that goes into this recipe most certainly pays off.