Aug 26, 2010

Banana Ice Cream


Ripened bananas are put to good use in this sweet, creamy ice cream with hints of vanilla and cinnamon.

The luxury of time, which I had in abundance this past month since I was on break from school, is now dwindling. School started this week and portions of my days are now devoted to class and, even more time consuming, the preparation for those classes. To top things off, next Monday I plan on auditioning for a local play at the Waco Civic Theatre. I may very well be one of the few to ever attempt to act in a show while enrolled in full-time law classes [Some of my classmates think I need to have my head examined.], but the show - Noises Off! - is one of my favorites, it's one I've always wanted to do and now I have the chance.

So, needless to say, while an open schedule allowed me to spend a lot of time in the kitchen in August, this new schedule is going to force me to make time for it. I thrives when juggling multiple projects and activities, and I suspect that taking classes, working on a show (if cast), and continuing to explore new things in the kitchen/developing photography skills will give me better results on all fronts. I like my down time, but too much idle time leads to an excessive laziness that I am very uncomfortable with.

Onto today's recipe. This ice cream developed from a situation I think everyone is all too familiar with - bananas ripening faster than they are eaten. I love bananas, but if I could change one thing about them, I'd double their shelf life. Buying bananas starts a race against the clock to eat the bunch before they get too many brown spots - I usually lose. The next plan of attack - finding recipes that make the best use of ripened bananas. Banana bread is always reliable, but for the amount of ripened bananas I end up with, I would be making banana bread about once every two weeks...and I get tired of eating the same thing repeatedly.

Back in July, I made homemade ice cream for the first time - without the use of an ice cream maker. I would never have done this if it weren't for the July Daring Baker's Challenge. The challenge opened a Pandora's Box, but I had to wait until now to buy an ice cream maker. First up - inspired by the withering bananas begging to be used - is this Banana Ice Cream. Until recently, I've been skeptical of using banana as a primary flavor in food, but I think this is just a delusion I formed when eating the banana flavored Laffy Taffy as a kid. [To be fair, I doubt there was any hint of real banana in this.] Actually, ripened banana is great for baking since, as it ripens, the starches convert to sugars and the fruit softens. It becomes a perfect natural sweetener and is easily mashed and mixed. True banana flavor compliments rather than overpowers, which is the case for the Banana Ice Cream. With hints of vanilla and cinnamon, banana is just one flavor on the palette. It'll chill the body and sweeten the soul.

Personally, I am far from perfecting the art of homemade ice cream. I did not let my churning bowl freeze long enough and thus the ice cream maker only slightly thickened my mixture. After a few tries, I had to freeze it to get the consistency of actual ice cream. As such, the finished ice cream had a frosty quality and did not hold as perfectly would be desired. But, this was my fault for not being patient. Still, I loved the flavor, and this will likely become a base for some interesting ice cream concoctions in the future. [Can anyone say Bananas Foster Ice Cream.]

Banana Ice Cream
Slightly modified from Our Best Bites
  • 4 ripened bananas, sliced into 1/2 inch segments
  • 1/4 c. white or brown sugar (I used white because its what I had on hand)
  • 3 t. cinnamon
  • 1 T. butter (optional, I did not use)
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 t. vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Toss banana slices in 1/4 c. sugar, butter and cinnamon. [This seems like a lot of cinnamon, but the final flavor does not overwhelm.] Spread banana slices over a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for about 15 minutes, turn banana slices and bake for 15 more minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  3. While bananas cool, whisk together cream, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla until sugar is fully dissolved. Cool in fridge.
  4. Place fully cooled bananas in a food processor/blender with 1/2 c. of the cream mixture. Blend until completely pureed. Add another 1/2 c. of cream mixture and blend again until combined.
  5. In a large pan, pour pureed banana mixture into the rest of cream mixture and whisk until fully combined. Chill entire mixture in refrigerator.
  6. Follow manufacturers instructions to churn in an ice cream maker. If you do not have an ice cream maker, pour mixture into a freezer-safe container. Freeze, stirring every two hours until fully frozen.


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