Toffee apples and tonka bean ice cream

Oh how, come Halloween, I loved toffee apples. Nothing beats the crunch of a toffee apple on a crisp, parky autumnal evening.No Halloween or bonfire night party was ever complete without some traditional toffee apples. I am far too old for sweet treats,bonfires, burning effigies, and neither am I any longer a trick or a treat. 
However I thought I would re-kindle these childhood memories with a more adult Halloween trick,a little dark bean that supposedly can make your wishes come true.It actually turned out to be a simply delicious treat.Grown up toffee apples with tonka bean ice cream ticks all the boxes for a Halloween dinner dessert. I took it it even further and deconstructed a Granny Smith apple to obtain a mixture of different textures and flavours that one could play with on  the same plate.Granny Smith apple, apple crisp, caramelised apples  julienned fresh apple and a dusting of sweet crumble.The sweetness of the milky custard  smooth golden tonka bean ice cream was the perfect foil for all these different textures. Sweet and sour apple,crunchy sticks of raw apple, the smoothness of the caramel infusing a mellow soft toffee flavour into the apple segments.All brought together by a dusting of  crumble.
My particular choice of Tonka bean for this dessert was the fact that every time I eat food that has been infused with Tonka It induces me to dream,. I often find the same toxicity in nutmeg.So what better for a Halloween dinner than for everyone to toddle off to bed and be mildly transported to the dark side.
In the Pagan and Occult tradition, the Tonka bean is believed to have magical properties. Mages believe that crushed Tonka beans brewed in herbal tea may help to cure the soul, relieve symptoms of depression and confusion, chase away negative thoughts and boost the immune system. It is also believed that holding the bean in one hand, while whispering a wish, leads to its fulfillment.
Just remember: While the Tonka bean might not be able to grant you all your wishes, your culinary ones should be well served.  Just keep your indulgence in healthy, non-toxic moderation
Tonka bean ice cream
200 ml carton cream
500 ml  whole milk
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
25 ml  maple syrup or mild flavoured  honey
1  Tonka bean, freshly grated (
Note: you could probably use as little as ½-3/4 grated bean and still achieve good results)

Pour the cream and the milk together in a saucepan. Add the grated Tonka bean and bring to a simmering almost-boil. Take off from the heat and leave to infuse for about 15 minutes.In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. Add the maple syrup (or honey).Slowly, begin to strain- little by little - the recently heated dairy/tonka mixture into the yolk-sugar mixture while whisking at thesame time.
When everything has been well whisked together, pour the blend into the saucepan and - while whisking fairly constantly - bring to a custard consistency,being sure not tolet it curdle.
Take the ice cream  from the heat and cool it down as quickly as possible (by using an iced water bath, for example).Once it has cooled down, Place the ice cream base in the refrigerator to mature, preferably over night.Then, churn the chilled base in your ice cream machine according to instructions (or, in case you have no machine,freeze in your 
refrigerator churning every few hours to stop crystals forming).Put in a freezer-safe container, cover with plastic film and lid and store in the freezer.

Toffee apples
4 granny smith apples,peeled cored and cut into segments 
3 tablespoons superfine caster sugar 
I teaspoon ground cinnamon
Toss the apple segments with the sugar cinnamon and 2 tablespoons water.
Tip them into a heavy based frying over a medium heat and let them caramelise and brown.turn each of the segments as they begin to caramelise and take them out when they are cooked on both sides 

For the apple crisps and raw julienne
Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Thinly slice the apple through the core – use a mandolin, if you have one, to get thin slices. Arrange the slices on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake for 40 mins. Cool until crisp.

While the crisps are in the oven  cut juliennes of raw apple and sprinkle with lemon juice to stop them browning.Set aside.
For the crumble
Make a small amount of crumble topping from flour butter and light muscavado sugar
a good formula to follow is half the quantity of butter to flour and half the amount of sugar to flour.Rub all together with your fingers till you have  a mix similar to coarse breadcrumbs.Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until aromatic and crispy. 


  1. The ice-cream recipe makes me want to jump up and make it!


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