Jul 25, 2008

Vanilla Apple Snow

I just happened to see this recipe in an old Donna Hay cookbook and was intrigued. It just sounded so refreshing. But I expected something icy. Instead it turned out to be smooth and soft, like real snow. I thought it would be a fun experiment, but didn’t expect to fall in love with it. It’s the ultimate cooler for Texas summer. We couldn’t stop eating this stuff. The childhood flavors of vanilla and apple together are mild and light. Kids will like this as a healthier alternative to ice cream and adults will find it is a great palate cleanser, light dessert or just a great way to cool down. And it’s so easy. Just four ingredients plus water.

Donna Hay directs readers to make it in a container in the freezer, which you break up and stir around with a fork every hour or so to fluff it up. I decided to put it in the ice cream maker first to see if that would make it even smoother. If you have an ice cream maker, I’d recommend that. It creates a wonderful, ephemeral, melt-in-your-mouth texture that is cooling, incredibly refreshing and comforting at the same time. But if you don’t have an ice cream maker, no problem. I’m including both sets of directions so you can do as you please.

Note, Hay calls for green apple juice. I love the distinct apple taste of green apples, especially Granny Smiths. But I couldn’t find any green apple juice. (Next time, I’ll go to Daily Juice.) The flavor with the regular red apple juice I used was really good, but I think the color would be prettier with green apples.

You can use vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds or vanilla paste, which I used. I didn’t have a vanilla bean, but wanted the telltale vanilla seeds to be visible.

Vanilla Apple Snow

4 cups (32 ounces) fresh apple juice, unsweetened
1/4 cup lime juice
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or paste
1 cup sugar

Heat the apple juice, lime juice and sugar in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves completely.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

To use an ice cream maker:
Pour the cooled liquid into a sealed container and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours until very cold.

Pour into the canister of an ice cream maker and churn according to its instructions until it’s light and fluffy and soft frozen.

Serve immediately, if you like, or place in the freezer to firm up more and serve later. Maintains it’s wonderful texture even straight out of the freezer. Serve by scraping layers off the top with a large spoon.

To freeze without an ice cream maker:
Pour cooled liquid into a metal container and freeze for two hours. Remove from freezer, whisk and fluff it with a fork to break up the ice crystals. Return it to the freezer and do this again every hour until it reaches the light, fluffy, scoopable texture you like.

Makes almost 2 quarts using an ice cream maker, which will increase it’s volume.

Adapted from Donna Hay’s Flavours cookbook.

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