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