So what if it’s December and you feel like making ice cream? I say you do it.
And so what if the act of making a frozen treat when it’s really chilly outside doesn’t make sense to others?
Does it make sense to you? Great, then that’s what matters.
As I have been told lately by various close friends, do whatever you want to do. I’ve been instructed to be more selfish as horrible as that may sound and to stop constantly thinking of what others may think. Of course, this advice does come with a bit of structure and guidelines: do whatever you please, as long as you’re respectful and you don’t harm others along the way.
But that’s exactly where the situation can become quite tricky. For example, would it cause harm to those who are close to me if I were to stop everything and go on a long journey to God knows where? Would they understand my current “lack of direction” and disinterest to do what’s considered “appropriate” for my career and life? I don’t know. Their confusion and possible state of disapproval may seek stop me. But it shouldn’t in the end.
“You only have one life and one chance,” were words that were directed to me just last night by someone close to me. I’m aware that it would be foolish to live the only chance we get at life to the standards of others, even if those people love you and want the best for you. The pressure of doing what’s “correct” in the eyes of others may be there, but only one can make the stress and tension disappear on his/her own.
It should be simple to do whatever we feel like having the urge of doing. It should feel easy, natural, and free to do so…but it doesn’t, at least not for me. If you’re like me, you may think twice, three times, and plenty of times more of how you should be living life. Because inside your head you always wonder if your next move will be “proper” or “suitable” in the eyes of those who are close to you. And if you’re like me, you may hear their voices in your mind commenting on your unexpected next move…”what are you thinking? Really, you’re not going to work there anymore? Why? Where are you going and why? I think it would be better if…”
It shouldn’t be that way.
So somehow, you just have to find the courage inside of you to make your voice stronger than theirs. And somehow, amid all the distracting noise, you have to make it your mission to listen deeply to what your voice is telling you. Because again, in the words of Bon Jovi, “It’s my life. And it’s now or never.” Oh Jon Bon Jovi…you wise, wise, man.
I do think it’s very important to acknowledge the opinions of those who care about you, but it’s just as important to learn how to tone down their voices in your mind to be able to hear your own to make your own decisions. Live your life respectfully and to the fullest (however that may be). I’m still trying to figure it out myself.
And of course, enjoy this apple cinnamon ice cream with pecans and caramel only and only if you would like to and find that it is “appropriate” for you. I know that it was for me.
**Yields about 2-2.5 C. Store base in fridge for 3-4 days and 2-3 days in freezer as ice cream.**
8 oz milk
8 oz cream
2 cinnamon sticks
4 oz yolks
2 oz dark brown sugar
2 oz granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 oz sparkling apple cider (or 4 Tablespoons) and additional 1 C for cooking apples
2 T dark brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 C apples (about 1 apple)–peeled, cored, and fine diced
3.5 oz caramel sauce (or 1/3 Cup), click here to view recipe for caramel sauce.
1/2 C pecans
1. Add milk and cream to a pot and bring to a gentle simmer.
2. Drop cinnamon sticks into pot to steep them while milk and cream heats up. Turn off heat when milk and cream come to a simmer. Take pot off heat and cover it. Allow to steep for about 30 minutes. (Note: Steeping time varies in the desired intensity of the flavor).
3. Drain the half and half and re-measure the liquid before continuing with recipe. If the weight has decreased, add milk to bring up to the same quantity you started with (orginal amount=16 oz of dairy). Return pot to the stove and bring milk/cream mixture and cinnamon sticks to a simmer once more.
4. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a bowl. When milk and cream have come to a simmer, temper the eggs with the milk and cream while whisking simultaneously. Allow mixture to rest for a few seconds so that the sugar can dissolve with the heat.
5. Pour mixture back into pan and stir in a figure 8 pattern so that every spot of the pot is touched as you cook it. Be sure to cook on low and gentle heat so that eggs don’t become scrambled. Cook and continue stirring until milk/cream naps the back of a spoon. That occurs when the sauce in your saucepan is thick enough to stick to your spatula; and therefore indicates that your mixture is ready.
6. Pass cream through a sieve to remove the chalazae of the eggs and cinnamon sticks. Pour crème anglaise into a large bowl that is sitting over ice and add 2 oz apple cider and stir. Refrigerate until further use.
7. Prep apples. Peel, core, and finely dice apples.
8. Combine diced apples, ground cinnamon, and the 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar in a pan and cook on low-medium heat until apples start to break down, about 7 minutes. Pour sparkling apple cider to deglaze pan and continue cooking until apples become soft and tender. This process can take a while and as soon as the sparkling apple cider evaporates, pour more into pan and just continue pouring and cooking apples until apples break down and are tender. It took me about 30-40 minutes of deglazing and cooking apples to soften them up completely. You may need more than 1 cup of sparkling cider. It’s important to cook apples so that the water that is contained in the fruit is expelled. If water remains in the apples, the fruit will become icy when frozen. Drain cooked apples to remove excess liquid.
9. Toast pecans at 325 F until they toasted all throughout. Allow pecans to cool. Roughly chop pecans. Set aside for later use.
10. Remove crème anglaise from refrigerator and pour into ice cream machine bowl. Make ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Be sure to have ice cream fold-ins (caramel sauce, toasted pecans, and cooked apples) at hand to be ready to fold into ice cream after spinning/churning cycle is complete. Freeze ice cream until you’re ready to enjoy it.