Gordon Ramsay’s Banana Ice Cream

Banana Ice Cream1

A silver hammock, upon which the banana ice cream delicately rests.

This is the banana ice cream I’ve been meaning to blog about for nearly three years. I saw it in Gordon Ramsay’s book Just Desserts (2001), and Hubbles and I had to try it. It’s phenomenal. We’ve made it a dozen times now; it’s a household favourite. The texture is perfection, and the banana flavour is… well, very banana-esque. Commercial banana ice creams now taste like chemicals, because this one has spoiled us for life.

Banana Ice Cream2

It’s a swirling maelstrom of silky banana-ness. Lingerie has nothing on this texture.

We tried it with a vanilla bean once, and that was the best ice cream either of us have ever had, before or since. You can omit the vanilla, and it will be closer to Gordon’s recipe, but I think the addition of vanilla really boosts the banana flavour, besides adding a delicate flavour of its own. I would like to try this at some point with a full dozen yolks, because yolks add silkiness to the texture. They make a rich ice cream even richer.

Banana Ice Cream3

It looks like the banana ice cream is rising from its silky-creamy maelstrom (see caption above), and maybe it is. I’m really not here to judge.

I normally add a lot of commentary to recipes, but I am going to let this one speak for itself. It’s one of my favourite recipes for any type of food. Period. There’s nothing quite so refreshing on a hot summer day as ice cream made with fresh fruit.

Gordon Ramsay’s Banana Ice Cream

Ingredients:

4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 TBS vanilla extract OR 2 vanilla beans
9 egg yolks
4 – 6 overripe bananas

Method:

Place cream, half the sugar, and vanilla (if using beans, slit them and scrape seeds into cream mixture; place beans in the mixture as well) in 5 quart saucepan. Peel bananas and add them to the cream mixture, mashing them with a potato masher until they are disintegrated. Heat on medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally. It’s okay if the mixture boils, but simmering is ideal.

Meanwhile, place yolks and the remaining sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth, around 5 minutes.

Once cream mixture has reached a simmer, let it simmer for five to seven minutes. (You might be preparing the egg yolks at this point in time.) Strain mixture into a medium bowl, but do not try and get every last bit of the liquid out of the strainer. If you do this, the mixture will taste slightly bitter. If you get 90% of the liquid out, that will suffice. Discard the banana solids, or eat them separately. If you like, you can leave them in the ice cream (thus negating the need for straining), but I think they contribute a slight bitterness.

Slowly stream the hot banana mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking the yolks like mad the entire time. This is called tempering the egg yolks, and it is important you add the hot liquid slowly so that the yolks don’t cook into solids. Set aside.

Clean the 5 quart pot and transfer the yolk-banana mixture into the pot. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly (the “froth” on the liquid’s surface will thicken noticeably, making it more difficult to see the liquid itself).

Transfer to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Eat within 5 days of making.

Source: Adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Just Desserts (2001)

 

Moist Buttermilk Cornbread

Cornbread1

A close-up of that moist, tender crumb.

I recently had to admit to myself that I had a cornbread problem. That problem was a lack of delicious, moist, yummy-nummy cornbread. I was using Jiffy mixes and numbing myself to other possibilities.

Well, step 1 of my 12 step cornbread problem was complete.

At some point I’ll apologize to all my baking implements for making them interact with substandard cornbread mixes.

Jiffy is a fine boxed cornbread mix. If you’re in a pinch, do the Jiffy thing with a full heart and dew-bright eyes. But it isn’t anywhere close to cornbread made from scratch, which I have, finally, for the first time ever, wie noch nie zuvor, made.

This recipe is amazing. It is based on melted butter and uses buttermilk as its moistening liquid. The texture of the finished cornbread is both moist and meaty, with a crumb that manages to be both delicate and coarse – just as cornbread should be.

Cornbread3

The top of this cornbread is a perfect golden-brown, and smooth. You can see the anatomy of the texture from the cornbread’s top: the individual pieces of cornmeal, namely.

I cut the sugar called for in the original recipe, from 2/3 cup to a generous 1/4 cup. I found that to yield the perfect classic cornbread flavour – the same flavour that Jiffy whips up time and again. I also added 1/8 cup buttermilk to the recipe, which I am convinced helped achieve the moist texture in the baked cornbread. I was pleased with both of these things.

I am still pleased.

From-scratch cornbread, I have found thee. Thou art versatile, able to accommodate grated cheese, vegetables, and careworn weeping. Thou stayest moist and tender across three days of airtight, room temperature storage. Thou art divine.

Cornbread4

An old maid? Please! I’m snatching this baby right off the saucer (er, shelf) and making her my lady. For life.

Moist Buttermilk Cornbread

Ingredients:
1 stick butter (either unsalted or salted is fine; I used unsalted)
generous 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 generous cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup all purpose flour

Method:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 8×8″ pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Melt butter. Transfer melted butter to medium bowl. Whisk in sugar until thoroughly blended. Whisk in eggs, working quickly so that they do not start to cook, until thoroughly blended. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk and baking soda. Add to butter/egg mixture and whisk to blend completely.

Sprinkle cornmeal evenly over surface of mixture; do not whisk yet. Sprinkle salt evenly atop surface; do not whisk yet. Sprinkle flour atop surface. Whisk to combine all ingredients, whisking just until a few lumps remain.

Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until a fork inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Cool somewhat before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

CherryIceCream1

The cherry is ready to meet its maker. Who is also its eater.

Summer is upon us. Everyone hoist their ice cream spoons!

My kickass husband brought home some beautiful Bing cherries the other day, because he knows I like them. They were a wonderful bright surprise wrapped up in an irresistible red colour! :) Cherries are a food that you can snack on with your eyes as well as your taste buds. I love them not just for their flavour, but for their appearance, emblematic of happiness, cheer, and leisure.

CherryIceCreamCherries

“Cherry ice cream smile, I suppose it’s very nice!”

I had never made cherry ice cream before, although I’d had a go at raspberry and strawberry, both of which were amazing. But for those, I did not use a custard base, instead using sour cream to add thickness and tang to the base. For the cherry ice cream I saw reflected in the cherries’ shiny exterior, I wanted a richness that only a custard can give.

CherryIceCream3

The silkiest ice cream you’ll find anywhere, ever, in this bowl.

I’ve made custard ice cream bases before, with banana and chocolate chip cookie dough being the household favourites. (I still intend to blog about those!) Making a custard can intimidate the home cook, but don’t let it! It’s easy. The key is cooking the yolks over a low heat, so that they don’t suddenly become scrambled egg. Even if little bits of the yolk do this, you can still strain the mixture so that the scrambled egg is left behind and all you have is a silky smooth custard base.

CherryIceCream4

Be-spoon my beating heart!

This ice cream recipe, from Williams-Sonoma, is supposed to be just cherry-flavoured. But the recipe incorporates vanilla extract, which, I think, gives the ice cream a vanilla kick and takes it into cherry vanilla Coke territory. If cherry vanilla isn’t your thing, then leave out the vanilla extract. The next time I make this, I’m going to omit the extract, because while I love cherry vanilla Coke, I was looking for a simple cherry flavour in this ice cream. Other changes I made were using heavy cream instead of 2 parts cream to 1 part milk, and adding butter to ramp up the cream’s fat content. The higher the fat content, the silkier the ice cream. The addition of yolks helps with texture, too, and I increased the number of yolks by 25% (from 6 to 8).

The result is the silkiest, smoothest, most delectably textured ice cream I’ve made to date. The cherry chunks provide delicious contrast to the ice cream’s smoothness, and boost the cherry flavour. The ice cream itself is sublime. It’s a perfect balance between cherry and vanilla flavours. Leave out the extract, and you’ll have an amazing, creamy, smooth cherry ice cream.

CherryIceCream2

The cherry harvest went swimmingly this year.

Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients:

For the custard base:
3 generous cups heavy cream
1 1/2 TBS unsalted butter
8 egg yolks
generous 3/4 cup white sugar
2 scant tsp. vanilla extract

For the cherry mixture:
1 – 1.5 lbs. pitted Bing cherries
generous 1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
3 TBS Kirsch liqueur, optional

Method:

For the custard base:
Place cream and butter in a 2 – 3 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to ensure the butter melts, until liquid reaches a simmer. (It’s fine if it reaches a boil, but be warned – if it gets to the boiling point, it will attempt to boil over and out of the pan.)

Meanwhile, place the egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough to accommodate the volume of the cream-butter mixture. Whisk the yolks and sugar together vigorously for 5 minutes; you want the yolks and sugar thoroughly mixed and thickened, and the longer you whisk, the thicker they will become.

When the cream is at a simmer or boil, take off the heat. Immediately pour it in a small, steady, slow stream into the yolk mixture, whisking like mad the whole time – if you don’t add the hot cream mixture to the yolks slowly while whisking, the yolks will cook. Take your time and add the hot mixture slowly. Once it is all incorporated in the yolk mixture, whisk for a minute to ensure everything is completely blended.

Take a bowl large enough to accommodate ice water and the saucepan and prepare it for the saucepan. You’ll plunge the hot saucepan into this bowl to quickly stop the contents cooking. Make sure there is not too much ice water in the bowl, or the ice water will spill over the sides of the saucepan and ruin the contents. Set aside.

Pour the yolk-cream mixture into the saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, to the point where a finger drawn along the back of the spoon will leave a line. To be honest, this test is inexact; the line should stay in place without the rest of the spoon’s coating running immediately in to fill it. The time this takes is around 9 to 15 minutes. Don’t let the mixture start to simmer, because this means the yolks will begin to solidify into a sweet scrambled egg like substance.

Once the mixture has thickened, take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Immediately plunge the saucepan into the bowl. Make sure the ice water won’t pour over the sides of the saucepan and set the whole assemblage aside.

For the cherries:
Place the cherries and 1/2 cup sugar in a 2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, and bring to a simmer. The goal is to break down the cherries and slightly thicken the juice they release. This takes around 9 – 15 minutes. Make sure the cherries don’t burn.

Once the juice has slightly thickened, take off the stove and stir in the lemon juice. If you taste the cherry mixture at this point, it will be slightly too sweet. This is as it should be; freezing the ice cream base will abate the sweetness slightly.

Allow the mixture to cool, then stir into the custard base. Cover this mixture and refrigerate at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days. If refrigerating for more than 3 hours, be prepared to stir the mixture again – the longer the cherries sit in the base, the more juice and flavour they release.🙂

Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Eat ice cream within 3 to 5 days.

Source: Heavily adapted from Williams-Sonoma