Oh my…when my husband suggested we make homemade banana ice cream, my first thought was, “Ewww!” His family used to eat banana ice cream all the time when he was growing up, whereas mine stuck to strawberry or peach. But I was game to give it a try.
I thought caramelizing the bananas would give it a richer flavor, so I sliced about five bananas and threw them in a skillet with melted butter and a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar.
Low and slow for a little bit until the brown sugar has caramelized and the bananas are just starting to get soft.
I set them aside to cool and then made the custard. I use a custard recipe from The Gift of Southern Cooking for my banana pudding, so I felt safe to try the ice cream custard recipe from the same cookbook. Since my ice cream maker holds 4 quarts, I doubled the recipe and used 16 egg yolks. Yes, that’s right. Sixteen. And it was delicious!
How to Make Caramelized Banana Ice Cream
You start with whole milk and a vanilla bean, and let it steep to infuse the milk with vanilla flavor. While the milk is soaking up vanilla, whisk sugar into the egg yolks and then slowly add some of the hot milk to temper the eggs.
Remove the vanilla bean, then stir the eggs into the rest of the milk and cook for several minutes. Air bubbles will begin to break across the surface when it’s almost ready—but don’t let it come to a boil.
Once most of these air bubbles have dissipated, the custard should coat the back of your spoon. Then it’s ready!
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cream, salt and vanilla. Then strain through a fine-meshed strainer to remove any egg bits. The cookbook recipe directs you to chill the custard overnight, but we didn’t have that much time so we let it cool and then stuck it in the freezer for a few minutes.
Use a food processor to puree the caramelized bananas, and if you’re in a hurry just stick them in the freezer for a bit also, but don’t freeze them. Once the custard and bananas are quite cool, slowly stir them together until well mixed. Then follow your ice cream maker’s directions.
The caramelized banana ice cream was luscious, creamy, decadent and lightly flavored with banana. It was almost like eating frozen banana pudding. I added some chocolate chips to my dish, and next time will probably make a caramel syrup for a topping. Try this on one of these scorching hot summer days–you’ll be glad you did!
Caramelized Banana Ice Cream
- 5 bananas
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean, twisted
- 16 egg yolks
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 6 tablespoons vanilla extract
- Peel and slice bananas.
- Melt butter in large skillet. Add bananas, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to skillet and cook on low until sugar has caramelized and bananas are just getting soft.
- Heat milk and vanilla bean in large Dutch oven until just before simmering. Remove from heat and let steep for about twenty minutes.
- Place egg yolks in large mixing bowl and whisk in granulated sugar. Slowly add about one cup of the heated milk to the eggs to temper. Stir tempered eggs into the rest of the milk.
- Return the Dutch oven to stove and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon until most air bubbles have disappeared and custard coats the back of the spoon. Do not allow the custard to simmer or boil. It should be slightly thick.
- Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream, salt, and vanilla.
- Strain through a fine-meshed strainer and then let cool. If you have time, place the custard in the refrigerator and cool overnight. If not, just let it sit for a few minutes until it's fairly cooled off and then stick it in the freezer for about ten or fifteen minutes. I placed mine on top of a bowl of ice water for a few minutes and then put it in the freezer.
- Follow ice cream maker directions.