Here’s one of the recipes from my cookbook, The All-American Dessert Book. This sumptuous ice cream was inspired by one I tasted at Virginia’s acclaimed Inn at Little Washington, where the food is splendid, the service distinguished, and decor delightfully, elegantly overdone. The ice cream was served along with a warm bittersweet chocolate cake, but it could have easily stood on its own. In the photo, I’ve combined the banana ice cream with some strawberry cheesecake ice cream (also in the book), and topped them with fruit and a homemade marshmallow sundae sauce for an easy red-white-and blue Independence Day dessert.
The secret to the exceptional flavor of the banana ice cream is starting with very ripe bananas, then roasting them to bring out their distinctive creamy taste even more. While the resulting ice cream is plenty gratifying as is, folding some fine quality grated chocolate into it (my improvisation) is a nice–and easy–touch.
Tip: Banana ice cream is also great with some hot fudge sauce drizzled over top.
- 4 fully ripe, medium bananas, unpeeled
- 1½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 1½ cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons light or dark rum, or orange juice, if preferred
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ to ¾ cup very finely chopped quality bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place bananas on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven until skins turn dark, 10-15 minutes. (They may exude some juice.) Let cool.
- In a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cream, milk, and rum almost to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved. In a medium, deep bowl, lightly whisk yolks. In a very thin stream, whisk about 1 cup hot milk mixture into yolks until evenly incorporated. Pouring slowly and whisking, add yolk mixture back to saucepan.
- Return saucepan to burner over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring and occasionally scraping pan bottom; as necessary, adjust burner so mixture heats efficiently but does not boil (which would cause yolks to curdle. Cook, stirring, until mixture thickens slightly and is hot to touch, about 5 minutes.) Continuing to stir, immediately remove heat. Add vanilla.
- Put peeled, chopped bananas in food processor. Add about 1 cup cooked custard. Process about 2 minutes, or until completely pureed; scrape down sides as needed. Stir banana mixture back into custard. Strain through a fine sieve into a storage container. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours and overnight, if preferred.
- Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. When ice cream finishes processing, fold in chopped chocolate until evenly distributed throughout, if desired. Turn out into a chilled plastic storage container. Keeps, tightly covered, for up to 2 weeks.
- Makes about 1 quart frozen custard.