Cider Ice Cream

If you keep up with me through Instagram this post is a long time overdue, but it is WELL worth the wait! This recipe comes from episode 2.09 – Run Away Little Boy, when Lorelai gets an ominous ice cream maker as a wedding gift from a well-meaning, yet uninformed, giver. Hi Netflix, I am in fact, available as a freelance synopsis writer if needed. Since Jackson just got in his apple crop, Sookie suggests using it to make Cider Ice Cream.

In true Sookie fashion, I chose to make both the cider and the ice cream from scratch. If you are faint of heart, or just value your time (it took me 12 HOURS to complete both!), you can certainly use store bought cider if it’s available. Again in the interest of your time, I will leave you with the recipe below… let’s just say it’s *detailed*, as any Maestro’s recipe should be; however, believe me when I say it will take all the self restraint you have not to eat it all in one sitting. This recipe makes about 1 quart of ice cream.

Homemade Apple Cider (Modified from

5 large apples, quartered

½ orange, halved

4 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. whole allspice

1 whole nutmeg

1/2 c packed brown sugar

Cider Syrup

1 c fresh apple cider (store bought is fine, too!)

¼ c granulated sugar

Homemade Ice Cream (Modified from

4 large egg yolks

2/3 c granulated sugar

1 1/2 c whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Cider syrup prepared

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp clove

¼ tsp allspice

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 ½ c heavy cream

Ice cream maker (Be sure to freeze the drum of the machine until you are ready to churn!)

If you’re going all in… take a deep breath! This will be a long process, but absolutely worth the wait. The good news is, there’s lots of passive cooking time so it’s the perfect quarantine activity! To start, add apples, oranges, spices and brown sugar to a stockpot over medium heat. Cover with water by at least 2” (about 5 cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 2 hours.

After the first two hours, remove the orange halves, then use a potato masher or wooden spoon to mash apples in a separate bowl. Return to a simmer and leave uncovered for another hour. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on solids with a wooden spoon to squeeze all juices out. Discard solids. Reserve at least 1 cup of cider to make the cider syrup. Refrigerate the remainder of the cider, or enjoy warm while finishing the ice cream!

Boil the cup of cider and sugar, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let the mixture boil until reduced by about two thirds. Set aside to cool. 

Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and water. Place a smaller bowl on top of the water, and place a fine-mesh strainer inside. Keep this close by while you make the ice cream base. In a separate bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together. Place the yolks and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until combined. At first the mixture will be very thick and dark yellow, then it will smooth out and lighten to a pale lemon-yellow color.

Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the vanilla extract and bring the milk to a simmer, and add the cider syrup and spices. Remove from heat. Temper the egg-sugar mixture by slowly pouring in 1 cup of warm milk to it. This prevents the eggs from curdling when returning them to the ice cream base. Pour the tempered egg-sugar mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk.

Return the saucepan to low heat. Stir the mixture slowly and constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot. Cook until the base has thickened enough to coat the back of the spatula and reaches 170°F.

Pour the thickened base through the reserved fine-mesh strainer set over the bowl that sits over the ice bath. Stir in the heavy cream. Leave the ice cream base over the ice water bath, stirring occasionally, until completely chilled, at least 20 minutes. You can also chill the base overnight if needed.  

Be sure to prepare your ice cream machine for churning before you reach this step. Mine required layering ice and ice cream salt until it reached the top of the drum. Check your machine’s instructions as needed. Transfer the ice cream base to the bowl of your ice cream machine. Churn until the base has thickened to a consistency somewhere between a very thick milkshake and soft-serve ice cream. This could take 20 minutes or more, my machine automatically stopped after the 20 minutes, but your machine may be different. 

**Optional**:  Kick it up a notch by doubling the cider syrup recipe and drizzle half into the ice cream mixture halfway through the churning session. 

Transfer the churned ice cream into a freezer container, placing a piece of wax paper on top to prevent ice crystals. Resist the temptation to dig in now… lick the spoon and take a long nap… if it’s frozen solid by the time you wake up (at least 4 hours) it’s ready to devour! 

Give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy! 

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