I made this ice cream a few weeks ago and it was a huge-scraping-the-bowl hit in our house. So much so, that it was chosen as one of the official selections in my son's traditional birthday ice cream cake (more on that to come a little later in the week) The first time I made it, I added chocolate chips which were just too big and proved to be more of a distraction than anything. This time, I swirled in some ganache (part of the birthday cake construction...) and got exactly what I wanted: rich bits of chocolate crunch suspended in the deep, caramelized banana flavor.
For this ice cream, the riper and blacker the banana, the better. If the ganache seems like too much of a hassle, just add very finely chopped bittersweet chocolate instead. Or add nothing. It's pretty delicious either way.
roasted banana-chocolate streak ice cream
makes about 1 quart
for the ice cream:
2 very ripe large bananas
1/2 c brown sugar
5 egg yolks
1 3/4 c heavy cream
3/4 c 1% milk
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
2 T rum (optional)
for the ganache:
4 oz heavy cream
1 t butter
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 400º
Place the chopped chocolate in a glass bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and butter to almost boiling. Carefully pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let it sit for about 2 minutes.
After 2 minutes, whisk the mixture together until it is smooth and shiny.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a non-reactive saucepan, combine the milk, cream, salt, vanilla bean (the pod and the scraped seeds). Over medium heat, cook the mixture carefully until it begins to bubble. Remove from the heat immediately, cover and let steep for 20-30 minutes.
Roughly chop the bananas and toss with the sugar. Roast the mixture on a small rimmed baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes.
Cool slightly before pureeing the mixture in a blender. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. While you are waiting for the cream mixture to steep, set up an ice water bath by placing a bowl (large enough to hold about 1 1/2 qt in a larger bowl filled with ice and a little water, keeping in mind that some of the ice will melt while you finish making your base.
Take about 1/2 c of the cream mixture and add it to the eggs and sugar. Whisk in and then repeat the process. The cream mixture will still be holding some heat so this will insure against ending up with some sweet scrambled eggs. Once you have carefully combined the mixtures, pour it back in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. It is ready when it coats the back of a spoon and you can run your finger through the center to form a clear path.
Strain though a fine-mesh seive into the waiting bowl in the ice bath. Add the roasted banana mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Stir the base every few minutes to speed up the cooling process. When it is complete cooled, cover and refrigerate the base for at least 2 hours.
When you are ready to process the base into ice cream, add the rum and pour into your freezer bowl, following the manufacturer's instructions. I use a basic ice cream maker and the churning time is usually about 10-15 minutes. It is ready when it reaches soft-serve consistency. When it reaches this point, slowly add either the ganache (bring it to an almost pouring consistency (but lukewarm!) by microwaving it for about 30-45 seconds) a spoonful or so at a time while it is still churning.
I used about 1/2 cup of ganache in total.
Pour the ice cream into a bowl and freeze for another 4 hours or so.