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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Spinach Walnut Pesto (and the Christmas Detox)

Between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I’m pretty sure I ate:

12 bites of french toast
11 chocolate-dipped pretzels
10 shrimp with cocktail sauce
9 iced sugar cookies
8 cups of coffee
7 stuffed mushrooms
6 pieces of bread
5 meeeeattttt-ballllllls
4 pieces of fudge
3 whole potatoes
2 (cups) of struffoli honey balls
and a monster piece of chicken marsala

Oof.

All delicious, of course. Christmas is the time of year where I revel in every little nuance surrounding holiday treats, from the long-standing family traditions behind them to sharing them with friends and family near and far. I also treat myself in a non-edible way and throw my typical routine out the window.  I traded my standard half-hour on the elliptical for walking 1 1/2 miles to the store just to pour over eyeshadow palettes. I stayed in my PJs until early afternoon (both days), and felt no guilt about tearing through reality TV series on Netflix like it’s Y2K all over again and there’s mass panic all our electronics will sizzle.

But they say all good things must come to an end, and I guess they’re right in this case. Turning a 180 from the daily go-go-go of work/errands/exercise wouldn’t seem so luxurious if it was blub-city all the time around here. December 26th I woke up a little earlier, said hello again to the elliptical, and stopped with the reality TV knocked some items off my to-do list. But I also treated myself to a delicious dinner made with simple, nutritious ingredients (a dinner of which I ate a normal-sized portion at a normal time of night, so there’s that).

Spinach Walnut Pesto
The walnut oil was a total impulse buy at the supermarket this week, and I may want to put it on everything. Between the walnuts and the walnut oil, which are full of healthy fats, and the spinach leaves, which are packed with just about every vitamin under the sun, you’re getting a SUPER easy, richly-flavored sauce with some serious nutritional value. In this instance, I used it as a sauce for pasta and thinned it out using some of the boiling pasta water so that it coated everything and wasn’t too thick. Feel free to add less water or omit it entirely and use it as a spread for sandwiches, etc.

Spinach Walnut Pesto
Yields enough sauce for 1 lb of pasta

2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
1/2 cup walnut oil
3 cloves garlic, more or less to taste
1/4 cup shelled walnuts
1/2 cup hot water

1.Peel garlic. Add spinach leaves, walnut oil, garlic, and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor. Blend for about 30 seconds.

Pesto without water

2. If making pasta, do your pasta thing and bring pot of water to a boil, salt it, and throw in your pasta (I used penne). When pasta is just about done, scoop out 1/2 cup of pasta water and pour into food processor with the pesto mixture. Pulse to combine.

Pesto with water

3. Toss pesto sauce with pasta and serve.