Gingerbread with Apple Ice Cream and Calvados Caramel Sauce

Like other classic desserts such as angel food cake or vanilla ice cream, gingerbread is delicious eaten plain. But what makes a classic dessert so great is that you can dress it up for special occasions. Here, Calvados-flavored caramel and apple ice cream make this gingerbread a stellar dessert worthy of any white-tablecloth party.

Ingredients

Apple Ice Cream

  • 4 (about 2 pounds) Golden Delicious apples
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • â…› teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons Calvados or apple brandy

Gingerbread

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • â…“ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup unsulphured dark molasses
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger

Method

To Make the Ice Cream

Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Slice them ⅛ inch thick and put them in a large sauté pan with the apple juice, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft and all the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Purée the apples in a food processor and strain through a medium-mesh sieve. Let cool to room temperature.

Combine the cream, milk, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until almost simmering. Transfer to a bowl and cool over an ice bath until room temperature. Stir in the apple purée and Calvados or brandy. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Remove the cinnamon stick. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze until scoopable, about 4 hours, depending on your freezer.

To Make the Gingerbread

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and ground ginger. Add the salt. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and the granulated and brown sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, add the molasses and then the sour cream. Stir in the grated ginger and then the dry ingredients. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the candied ginger on top. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before cutting.

In Advance

The gingerbread is best baked and served the same day. Store at room temperature.

To Serve

Cut the gingerbread into 3-inch squares. (There will be extra gingerbread for breakfast the next day.) Place a piece of the gingerbread on each plate. Place a scoop of apple ice cream on top. Pour warm caramel sauce over the ice cream and cake. Serve immediately.

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