Summer has officially arrived here in San Diego. Since it shot past eighty today, I think it’s time for ice cream. I’ve always been intrigued by the concept that frozen bananas, when blended, have the consistency of ice cream, and I love to make some banana “ice cream” and layer it into a yogurt parfait for breakfast. However, I just purchased the “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” cookbook from the famous bakery Baked NYC.
Needless to say, I’m obsessed. Since I’m still not feeling at the top of my game, I haven’t been baking as much, but I’ve sat on my couch flipping through the gorgeous cookbook and admiring every recipe I see. One that particularly caught my attention was the Banana Pecan Piloncillo Ice Cream, which uses bananas as the ice cream based, and is only enhanced by adding melted piloncillo (a Mexican cane sugar – usually in a cone shape) and toasted pecans.
Let’s talk piloncillo. I wanted it to work, I really did. I grated it up in my food processor, but the stuff did not want to lose its grainy texture when I tried to melt it down. I tried adding more water – but it wasn’t happening, and the second I took it off the heat it would seize up into a block.
So, the piloncillo was abandoned and dark brown sugar was melted down, much more easily I might add, to be added to the ice cream. If you’ve ever made ice cream before, you’ll love the utter simplicity of this recipe. This will change your view of ice cream forever – it’s that good. It’s almost healthy! …Almost.
Be sure to make that caramel sauce though, it’s easy, delicious, and truly takes this treat over the top.
White Chocolate Pecan Banana Ice Cream with Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce
For the ice cream
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 8 ripe bananas peeled, wrapped in aluminum foil, and frozen
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz. chopped white chocolate
- 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
For the caramel sauce
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Small pinch fleur de sel optional, but highly recommended
For the ice cream
1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the water and cinnamon stick and simmer until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
2. Unwrap the frozen bananas, chop them coarsely, and set them aside.
3. Remove the cinnamon stick from the syrup and pour it into a blender or food processor. Add the cream and bananas and blend until smooth and mushy.
4. Pour into an ice cream machine freeze, following the manufacturer's instructions. Add the pecans and white chocolate to the ice cream a few minutes before the cycle is finished. Since the mixture is partially frozen, it won't take long to freeze, about 10 minutes. Serve with Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce (recipe below).
For the caramel sauce
1. In a medium saucepan with high sides, stir the brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, and the corn syrup together. Stir gently so you don't splash any of the mixture onto the sides of the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and stop stirring. The mixture will begin to boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove from head and slowly add the cream, whisking gently. The caramel will bubble vigorously when the cream is added, then will clump.
2. Return the pan to low heat and warm the mixture to dissolve the caramel clumps. When the caramel is smooth, add the vanilla and salt, if using, and whisk again.
3. If using the sauce immediately, remove from the heat and beat vigorously to cool it slightly. Let stand for a few minutes before using.
4. Let any leftover caramel come to room temperature, cover and refrigerate. You can rewarm the sauce in the microwave. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Recipes from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito