Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Get On the Boat...The Banana Ice Cream Boat

I've been dying to try this recipe on for size since I've gotten my ice cream maker. No eggs, no tempering, no heating, no straining...just a food processor (or a blender, I'm sure) and an ice cream maker. Easy, easy, easy. Not to say I'm lazy or anything, because I've obviously made French and New York style ice creams before, but it's getting warmer and warmer outside...which also means my brick house is getting even HOTTER on the inside. So standing over a stove doesn't sound too appealing. Making this ice cream was quick and didn't require a lot of ingredients. Also, this recipe is easy to tweak, and I love that.

The night before, I took 6 medium bananas and threw them in the freezer (peels on). Just flung em on in there. When I came home from work the next day, I sat them on my kitchen table to thaw out. They look sorta defeated, don't they?

After they thawed out, I split them down the back and plopped the innards into my food processor.

Now, why would I freeze them overnight only to thaw them out again? When you freeze foods, the water in the fruit, veg, or meat, freezes into jagged little ice crystals. When you thaw the food out, the crystals sort of break down the tissues/fibers/whatever and make it soft. This will result in a creamier, smoother texture. You need to embrace the mush.

Um....sorry. I was impatient. this came out a bit blurry. I'M ONLY ONE WOMAN FOLKS. AND I WANTED ICE CREAM. So, anyway, I put one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice into the processor and blended the nanners for about 20 seconds. The lemon juice adds a nice tang and keeps the bananas from turning browner. 

Next, you want to add 3/4 cup of light corn syrup and some vanilla. If you have a vanilla bean in your house...well, use one! It's way easier to get vanilla extract where I live, so I used one teaspoon of the stuff. Start blending on low, and then add in your dairy.

The recipe originally called for a 1 1/2 of heavy cream. After looking through some of the recipe comments, I saw a lot of people thought that the high fat content in the cream made for a heavy, cloying mouthfeel. Since the bananas were already so creamy, I decided to lighten things up a bit by only using 1 cup of cream and a 1/2 cup of whole milk. When I follow an online recipe, I always try and read the comments to see what others thought. It's really nice to get some insight from people who've already tried it out, and to see what tweaks or tips they might have used. 

When I was finished blending the mix, I gave it a taste. It was good, but I felt it could use something more. I added more vanilla (about half a teaspoon), some cinnamon for a little warmth and depth, and a pinch of salt. 

I gave it about 3 more pulses, and tasted it again. NOW it was a big bowl of banana milkshake. 

I would love to tell you that I let this age overnight....but I didn't. I put it in a plastic container and put it in the freezer so it could chill while I ate my dinner. The colder the mix, the finer the texture of the ice cream. Then, into the churn! As always, follow your ice cream maker's instructions. 

It's a churning inferno! You know...the cold kind of inferno.
I let this go for 25 minutes, and it blossomed into some beautiful stuff, my friends. The taste, sublime. I scraped it back into the plastic container, covered it with saran wrap and its lid, and put it back in the freezer to harden. 

Sigh. This was only after an hour, so it was still VERY soft. But I needed to take a picture, and of course I wanted to try the finished product.

Wow. The texture is really refined and smooth...even fluffy. It was really rich without being weighty, with no fatty aftertaste. This was probably because of the milk! I did have some coconut milk hanging around so maybe I'll try that next time for a touch of Caribbean flavor. I could have added more cinnamon. If I wanted to go even further, I could add some chocolate chips, or maybe RUM.

And don't be fooled by this serving size; these three little scoops were very filling! I could have eaten half of this amount and still would have been happy.

Also, I know people can get weird about using corn syrup in stuff, so I'm wondering if I could use honey, or even agave. I know my pancreas would appreciate that. 

Hmm...Banana Rum Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream anyone? Maybe I should start working on that flavor...

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