Deconstructed Banana Split

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I love ice cream, almost more than anything. Almost any dessert can be enhanced by a scoop of gorgeously silky cold ice cream.  A crisp, a tart, a pie, even a cookie is better with a bit of ice cream especially if the dessert your pairing it with is hot and crunchy. Cold, hot, creamy and crunchy is irresistible.

I recently purchased an ice cream book called ” Hello, My name is Ice cream “, by Chef Dana Cree. Its a wonderful book, laid out in a logical way with clear instructions.  She is very thorough in her discussion of the science of ice cream with useful information on stabilizers, emulsifiers and other elements necessary for turning out silky ice cream.  She goes over the variety of frozen desserts: sorbets. sherbets, Philadelphia and custard style ice creams.  At the beginning of each chapter she gives you what she calls a blank slate recipe. This allows readers to create recipes beyond those that Chef Cree has offered.  For me, that’s the best kind of book because it allows me to create.

Chef Cree’s recipe for banana ice cream is amazing and has inspired a few iterations.  I have spun it and added a thin stream of melted bittersweet chocolate at the end so I get a banana stratiatella. I have served it with a rum caramel ribbon and a fudge ribbon. But the prettiest plate I’ve done is a rif on a banana split. I love the flavor of bananas in a banan split but not the incorporation of banana slices.  This banana split has banana ice cream as the base, scooped up into three little scoops and each served with its own sauce: caramel/rum, bittersweet chocolate and fresh strawberry.

A word about ice cream machines.  I use an ancient Simac Gelataio Boy.  It churns ice cream in about 15 minutes. The day it dies will. be a sad, sad day for me. It has a built in compressor which keeps the base chilled while you are churning it.  Since my Simac was manufactured, they EPA made it illegal to use this particular type of freon in non commercial ice cream machines, or so I was told by Simac.  I had purchased another Simac  a few years ago with a removable bowl, thinking it would be easier to clean and I did not like it. It didn’t get as cold and took longer to churn the ice cream. Therefore, the ice cream was not as creamy. I can’t recommend another built in compressor machine. Perhaps Lussino or Lello or another Italian company.

I also have a freestanding Cuisinart  unit where you need to chill the bowl before you use it. For some ice creams they may be interchangeable but for at least one of my ice creams, the Simac gives it a much better texture.  So, I used the Simac for this banana ice cream and I don’t know how it will turn out with the Cuisinart.  Let me know if you try it. The advantage of the Cuisinart is that if you freeze multiple bowls you can make several quarts of ice cream. My Simac heats up so I can do two batches and then I have to let it cool down before I can use it again. Yep, I need a commercial ice cream maker. I just don’t happen to have 10k lying around.

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Banana Split Componants

  • 1 quart banana ice cream
  • Strawberry sauce
  • bittersweet chocolate sauce
  • caramel/rum sauce
  • chopped roasted almonds
  • whipped cream

Banana Ice Cream

  • 500g bananas (Roughly 4 medium bananas.  Bananas should be very ripe with mostly dark brown and black skins)
  • 300g /1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 400g/2 cups whole milk
  • 50g/1/4 cup glucose syrup (one could potentially use light corn syrup but I have not tried it with this recipe)
  • 150g/3/4 cup superfine or caster sugar
  • 100g egg yolks (5)
  • 1g/1/8 tsp sea salt (Chef Cree uses 1/4 tsp but I find it a bit salty)
  • 5g/1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3g/1tsp Cremodon 30 ( this is a stabilizer/emulsifier you can buy on Amazon)
  1.  Peel and place the bananas in a 2 quart heat proof container.
  2. Wisk together the Cremodin 30 with the sugar.
  3.  In a heavy bottom saucepan wisk the sugar into the dairy and add the glucose.
  4. Place the pan over medium high heat.  Wisk the mixture and bring to a full rolling boil then immediately remove the pot from the heat.
  5. Pour the hot base over the bananas and place the container in the refrigerator. I steeped my bananas for 24 hours for a full banana flavor but you can do less if you prefer or if you are in a hurry. I would advise doing no less than 4 hours.
  6. After steeping,  pour the base, including the bananas through a fine mesh sieve. Pick out any large pieces of bananas and discard.  Gently shake or stir the remaining contents of the sieve to allow as much liquid as possible to pass through. I used very ripe bananas and some of them fell apart in the base. I didn’t want any of the loose bananas particles in the base so I didn’t mash them through the strainer.
  7. Place the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl and wisk together.  I like using stainless steel because I find that when I add the hot milk it thickens almost immediately and shortens the cooking time. Bring the base to a simmer and pour slowly over the yolks, wisking constantly so they don’t curdle. Place the mixture back in a clean pot and cook over low heat until the mixture thickens.   Cook the mixture until it coats the back of a wooden spoon and the edges of the mixture stay separate when you draw a line down the back of the spoon with your finger.
  8. Place a heat proof ziplock bag inside a heat proof container and fold the edges back over the rim. Pour the base through a fine mesh sieve, into the bag. Zip up the bag, expelling as much air as possible and place it in the ice water bath.  When the mixture is cool take the bag out of the ice bath, add the vanilla and place the bag in the fridge and chill overnight.
  9. Pre chill your ice cream machine.  Pour the contents of the bag in the machine and churn until the ice cream has the consistency of soft serve ice cream and holds its shape.

Strawberry Sauce

  • 1 quart strawberries
  • 2 Tablespoons of superfine sugar and more to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice and more to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Purée sugar, salt and berries until puréed.  Push through a fine mesh sieve

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate ( I like Lindt 70% or Valrhona)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. Chop chocolate into fine pieces and place in heat proof bowl
  2. Heat cream to a simmer
  3. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir gently until combined

Caramel/Rum Sauce

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup superfine or caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp dark rum
  1. Place cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Cover pot so cream stays warm.
  2. Place water in heavy 3 quart sauce pan.
  3. Pour in sugar and stir so sugar is evenly wet.
  4. Put pot on a medium high flame and bring to a simmer. Pick up the pot and swirl it around so the contents swirl as well.  If the sugar is not all dissolved, related the process until the syrup is clear and you can’t see crystals of sugar.
  5. Place lid on pot and raise heat to high. Let it cook for a few minutes and remove the lid. If you see sugar crystals clinging to the side of the pan, wash them off with a heat prof pastry brush dipped in cold water. The syrup will become thick and bubbly. When the syrup starts to color, pick it up and swirl it from time to time. When the syrup is a light caramel color remove it from the heat. Add the cream slowly.  Be careful it will bubble up and may splatter.  Stir over low heat until the caramel is smooth and any hardened bits are melted.  Pour into a heat proof container and let it come to room temperature.  Stir in the rum and a pinch of sea salt.

Assemble

Place three little scoops or quenelles of ice cream on a plate and put a bit of sauce around each scoop. Garnish with fleurettes of whipped cream, chopped toasted almonds or bits of strawberry.  Or, put three scoops in a glass, pouring each sauce over the ice cream and garnishing with whipped cream.image

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