French Apple Cake with Bacon Ice Cream

Photo by Ian McCausland Photography

French Apple Cake
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c granulated sugar, plus more to sprinkle over cake
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp apple liqueur
2 baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Confectioner’s sugar
Fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform with butter or nonstick cooking spray. (If using a regular cake pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease again.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Using a handheld or a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla and apple liqueur. Don’t worry if the batter looks grainy at this point; that’s okay. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped apples.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and even the top. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool on a rack. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake. If using a springform pan, remove the sides. If using a regular cake pan, carefully invert the cake onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, then gently flip the cake over to place it right-side-up on a platter. Using a fine sieve, dust with Confectioner’s sugar (if using).

Candied Bacon Ice Cream

Candied bacon:
5 strips bacon
about 2 teaspoons light brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or a silicone mat and lay bacon strips flat. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon. Bake for 12–16 minutes. At about 7 minutes, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the syrupy liquid that has collected on the baking sheet. When the bacon is a mahogany brown, remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack. Once crisp and cool, chop into little pieces and fold into your vanilla ice cream. (Bacon bits can be refrigerated for one day or frozen for a few weeks.)

Ice Cream Custard:
3 tbsp salted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
2-3/4 cups half-and-half cream
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons dark rum or whiskey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and half of the cream. Pour the remaining cream into a bowl set in an ice bath and set a mesh strainer over the top.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm brown sugar mixture to them, whisking the yolks constantly as you pour. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the cream, stirring over the ice bath until cool. Add liquor, vanilla, and cinnamon, if using.

Refrigerate the mixture. Once thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the bacon bits during the last moment of churning, or stir them in when you remove the ice cream from the machine.

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