This roasted banana ice cream recipe stirs caramelized bananas and chunks of bittersweet chocolate in with all the usual ice cream ingredients. Quite possibly the best banana ice cream recipe ever.
The author likens this roasted banana ice cream recipe to “a sophisticated banana split wrapped up in a single scoop.” We’re not going to argue—in fact, we’re not going to bother with words at all, as we’re too busy helping ourselves to seconds. Suffice it to say this recipe has become our new banana-y thing to make when we have overripe Chiquitas on hand. With all due respect to banana bread, natch.–Samantha Seneviratne
Roasted Banana Ice Cream
- Ice cream maker
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 2 vanilla beans split and seeds scraped
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 1 1/4 pounds extra super ripe bananas (4 to 6), peeled (fresh or thawed frozen bananas* work fine)
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70 percent cacao), chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
- Stir together 2 cups heavy cream and the vanilla beans and seeds in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let infuse for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the sugar and the water. (If using frozen bananas, you can substitute 3 tablespoons of the liquid exuded by the thawing bananas in place of the water.) Add the bananas, gently toss to coat, and then put the skillet in the oven. Bake, stirring once or twice, until the sugar is bubbling and the bananas have softened and collapsed, 10 to 15 minutes if using frozen bananas, 25 to 30 minutes if using fresh bananas.
- Dump the banana mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, making sure to scrape in all of that exceptionally lovely sauce from the skillet, and process until smooth. You should have 1 1/4 cups purée. Scrape it into a medium bowl to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. (And if by any good fortune you have more than 1 1/4 cups purée, reserve it for a different use. We can tell you from experience that it's unspeakably excellent simply devoured by the spoonful.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and salt. Add the cooled cream mixture and whisk to combine. Return the cream mixture to the pan and gently warm it over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, just until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. It’s important not to let the mixture come to a boil or it will curdle.
- Fill a bowl larger than the bowl of purée halfway with ice water. Set a strainer over the bowl of banana purée. Pour the custard through the strainer, discarding any solids. Whisk in the vanilla extract and remaining 1 cup cream until combined. Place the bowl of banana-y goodness in the bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally until the roasted banana ice cream mixture is completely chilled and very thick.
- Freeze the roasted banana ice cream mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, adding the chocolate during the last minute of processing. Because the ice cream mixture is so thick, it may not take much longer than 20 to 30 minutes. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer-proof container, cover, and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours. Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before scooping and serving. Freeze the remaining ice cream with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface of the ice cream for up to 2 weeks.
*How do I freeze overripe bananas?Sometimes you just don't have the time or energy to put those overripe bananas languishing on your countertop to good use before they go bad. This is precisely why you need to know how to freeze overripe bananas for later. Ready? There are a few ways to do this, depending on the amount of freezer space you have and how much work you're willing to do. You can just toss them right into the freezer, peel and all. The peel protects them from frostbite or absorbing flavors. The peel will blacken but that's of little consequence. Also be forewarned that when you thaw the frozen bananas, they'll exude quite a lot of juice, but that's neither here nor there, either. (You can actually reserve this juice and use it, along with the banana, for an extra intense jolt of banana in smoothies and banana bread and even in place of the water in this roasted banana ice cream). Your other alternative is to peel and slice them up, spread them on a tray lined with parchment, and freeze. Once frozen, you can just drop the slices into a freezer bag and return them to the freezer.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
WOW. And I DO mean WOW. I've never cared for banana ice cream until today. Creamy, addictive, perfect amount of sweetness, tremendous banana taste, I could keep going on and on. My bananas weren't crazy ripe. The house was smelling divine when the bananas with sugar were in the oven. The only change I may make next time is I will start with only 2 tablespoons of water and add more if I feel the mixture is drying out too much. Though the bananas were nicely caramelized, I think they could've been even more roasted if they hadn't been as wet.
I poured the banana mixture into the Vitamix, which created a gorgeous cream of roasted banana with no clumps whatsoever. The final amount was closer to 1 1/2 cups of pure banana purée delight. When using the strainer, I didn't end up with any solids, perhaps due to the fact that the banana cream was so smooth from the Vitamix. When I was happy with the ice cream's consistency, I added the chocolate chips, allowed it to mix for about 5 more minutes, then poured the ice cream into containers. Within 1 hour, the ice cream was fully ready to be served. I haven't counted the actual amount of servings, as we've been going straight into the containers with a spoon. Shhh! I just wish this recipe was faster to make. I think I'll double the recipe and make 2 quarts next time, or more.
Ice cream is something that I've always enjoyed making. When you make your own ice cream, you can create and dream up flavors you'll never see on supermarket shelves. When I saw this recipe for roasted banana ice cream, I knew I wanted to add it to my repertoire. It starts out as most other ice cream recipes do, infusing vanilla in the cream, heating egg yolks with the cream, and letting it chill. Where the recipe really draws its flavor is from roasting the bananas in the butter and brown sugar. Cooking the bananas in this way creates a nice caramelized flavor and smells amazing! It's just like bananas Foster without the rum.
When I made the purée, to my delight there was a little less than a 1/4 cup leftover, which I consumed immediately. The mixture took about 20 minutes to cool before it went into my machine. This is the point in making homemade ice cream that has always been the most challenging for me—when do you take the ice cream out so it's not just a frozen block when it's all done? Often I've followed the manufacturer's instructions and ended up with not-so-creamy ice cream.
A friend told me something he learned while taking an ice cream-making class: to make the creamiest and fluffiest ice cream, you spin it until the weight of your finished product is 1/3 less than the weight of your original mixture by volume. This way you know you incorporated enough air into your ice cream in order to avoid a dense frozen block. I thought I'd give his method a try in this recipe. The weight of 1/4 cup of the original mixture was 252 grams. I spun the ice cream until 1/4 cup weighed around 168 grams. At this point, the ice cream looked like soft serve. The whole spinning process took about 25 minutes. The ice cream was so fluffy that I had to fold in the chocolate because it wouldn't fit in my ice cream maker. I ended up getting 1 quart plus 1 cup of ice cream from the recipe. When I was ready to serve it, I left it out on the counter for about 10 minutes, which gave it enough time to soften. I was then able to scoop it easily enough. When I tasted the ice cream, I was blown away! The taste of the bananas was nice and subtle and matched well with the chocolate, and you still got some of that bananas Foster flavor. The ice cream was incredibly creamy. The only thing I'd want to add to this recipe is some rum to complete the bananas Foster flavor. I think stirring in 2 tablespoons when mixing the banana purée would be awesome!
Originally published January 11, 2016