may 9, 2018
An early summer memory of growing up in the South involved banana ice cream. My mom and I would sit under a fragrant magnolia tree on the side porch, watching heat lightning, in floral cotton nightgowns, enjoying what we deemed homemade banana ice cream. In actuality, we simply smashed a ripe banana and mixed it with soft vanilla ice cream so the term “homemade” is relative.To this day, I think banana ice cream is best only when made at home, without added flavoring agents. I still occasionally smash a ripe banana and add it to nearly melted vanilla ice cream and that’s my housemade early summer treat. The Clover Room, a dearly departed ice cream parlor on Richmond’s Broad Street, served the classic banana split with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Regular Friday night trips with my school pals were usually for french fries and a couple of unadorned scoops, but when we wanted to splurge, a banana split was the preferred indulgence.
The much anticipated appearance of local strawberries (plus a run of ninety degree days and the attendant rolls of distant thunder) brought back these memories in a rush of nostalgia for all things ice cream. What I really wanted was a minimalist banana split ice cream, minus the frills of cream and maraschino cherry. Fudge sauce was a must, and I remembered my all-time favorite from The Silver Palate Cookbook. I’m sharing the tweaked recipe today, with a couple of tips to make it your favorite, too.
I’m also sharing this easy recipe for early summer ice cream. As with my other ice creams, this is egg-free and uses a sweetened dairy base with sugar melted into milk, to prevent a grainy texture. Since bananas and strawberries are “wet” fruits, more ice crystals can be expected when they are paired in ice cream, so my second attempt, with the addition of one small tablespoon of light corn syrup which can aid in dessert creaminess , was more successful than when I used all cane sugar.
You will need a larger capacity electric ice cream maker; the amounts used today will fill a large unit to the top, with barely perceptible overflow, so before you freeze, buy or borrow the bigger one. Texture immediately after freezing will be very soft and the ice cream needs a good overnight rest in your freezer for ideal creaminess.
Strawberry Banana Walnut Ice Cream
makes about one large quart
1 ¼ cup whole milk
1 ¼ cup cane sugar
¾ cup smashed very ripe banana (speckled), from about 2 medium
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 cups finely chopped ripe strawberries, pureed with some chunkiness, to yield 1 cup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup finely chopped raw walnuts
optional garnishes : strawberries and banana slices
- In heavy one quart saucepan over medium low heat, stir together milk and sugar until all sugar crystals are melted.
- Off heat, add corn syrup, vanilla, banana and strawberry puree.
- Add cream and chill at least six hours overnight in glass or stainless steel bowl; mixture will appear very thick and full flavor will have developed with the overnight rest (mix not as flavorful when first combined).
- With motor running of large capacity electric ice cream maker, add the creamy fruit mixture to the bowl and process until beginning to thicken, about 20 minutes.
- Add walnuts about 2 tablespoons at a time until each addition begins to incorporate.
- When all walnuts are in the mix, and motor begins to slow as ice cream thickens, turn machine off and freeze contents overnight in tightly covered container.
- If too firm to scoop, let sit at room temp about 10-15 minutes to soften.
- Garnish with strawberries and banana if desired, and with chocolate fudge sauce if the mood strikes,
Best Chocolate Fudge Sauce
adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
⅔ cup water, heated to boiling for addition to the chocolate
1 ⅔ cup cane sugar
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- In heavy two quart saucepan over medium low heat, slowly melt chocolate with butter.
- Add boiling water and stir well to mix.
- Add sugar and corn syrup and stir very frequently over medium low heat until sugar is melted—this is a key step!
- Bring mixture just to the boiling point and simmer, without stirring, for exactly nine minutes.
- remove from heat and after 15 minutes, stir in vanilla; cool to room temp before storing, .
- Store in the fridge – no need to heat for adding to a nice bowl of ice cream.
cook’s note : to avoid graininess, stir the mixture until sugar is completely melted before bringing to simmer; if you hurry the process, your chocolate sauce will be sandy—trust me, I know from experience!