Sunday, September 2, 2012

Banana + Chocolate

I can't believe that the last time I posted something containing chocolate was late June. It is unfathomable for someone like me, and I promise you, it will not happen again.






The truth of the matter is that I have been caught up in all the summer-fruit craziness and I couldn't bring myself to make anything with chocolate, even though S has been protesting; he desperately needed his fix.





I couldn't and I wouldn't swap all those ripe, plump, gorgeous fruits for plain old chocolate no matter how much S and I love it. And I still can't. That's why I decided to mix the best of both worlds. Fruit and chocolate.






The best combination out there is of course banana and chocolate, right? Well, I didn't use to be a fan of this classic combination at all. I hated it, actually. It seemed kind of strange. But then I tried an out-of-this-world banana and chocolate cake (which I'll share with you, someday here it is!) and I was converted in a flash. Finally, it made sense.






I needed of course to experiment with other desserts and sweets as well, so I made cookies and biscotti, using walnuts in the first and cinnamon in the second and they were indeed delicious, but ice cream was what I really wanted to try. We're not talking about regular ice cream here though. There was no heavy machinery in the form of an ice cream maker involved nor required, but still, the result was magnificent. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that you whip the cream first to a soft, pillowy stage and then you add the bananas which have melted into a syrupy purée. Yes, that's it.






Not many ice creams are as straightforward as this one, and fewer are as delicious. Full-bodied flavor of ripe banana, sweet with bitter notes coming from the dark chocolate to give balance, light and smooth with a crunchy texture from the chocolate chunks, you can't ask anything more from an ice cream really.










Banana Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks

Okay, this ice cream, as I mentioned above, doesn't need an ice cream machine and once it's ready to go in the freezer, it looks and feels and tastes like a banana-y mousse, speckled with chunks and chards of dark chocolate. I dare you to try to resist eating half of it on the spot. But no, hold on, there's more. Once you put it in the freezer and a couple of hours pass, that soft mixture becomes cold and creamy and smooth, reminiscent of semifreddo or parfait, and now I dare you to try to resist eating the rest of it.

If, by any chance, you managed not to eat all of it by now, leaving it in the freezer overnight will produce a rock hard ice cream—no ice crystals though, mind you, because of the small amount of water in it. So before you serve it, leave it out of the freezer for a good 20 to 25 minutes. It will become enticing again.

Needless to say, if you want to serve it to guests, make it the same day.
And don't forget, the ripest the bananas, the more flavor they'll impart to the ice cream.





Yield: about 750 g

Ingredients
400 g peeled, very ripe bananas (3 large bananas), cut into chunks
30 ml water
90 g caster sugar
2 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Pinch of sea salt
250 ml cream, full-fat (35%), cold
100 g good-quality dark chocolate (55%-72% cocoa solids, depending on your taste, I used 70%), cut into small, rough chunks

Special equipment: small food processor, stand or hand held mixer


Preparation
In a small saucepan, add the banana chunks along with the water and the sugar. Heat over low heat and simmer the bananas until they start to break down and become soft, mushy and syrupy, stirring regularly and being careful not to burn them. It will take about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.


Then place them in a food processor along with the lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt, and process until smooth. Give it a taste and add more lemon juice if you find it too sweet. Empty the banana purée in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to cool completely, for about 30 minutes.


In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl), beat the cold cream on high speed with the whisk attachment (or using your hand-held mixer), until soft peaks form, i.e. until fluffy but still soft.
Add a third of the whipped cream to the banana purée and mix it in with a spatula to lighten the mixture. Then add the banana purée to the rest of the whipped cream along with the chocolate chunks, and fold in with a spatula, very gently, so you don't deflate the whipped cream.


Empty the ice cream mixture into a container suitable for the freezer and freeze for at least 4 hours. You don't need to stir, whip or beat the mixture in-between.

Before you serve it, leave it out of the freezer for 20-25 minutes.





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14 comments:

  1. Ooh this looks great! Bananas make the best no-churn ice cream! Thanks for the recipe.
    Eleni @ On Top Of Spaghetti

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  2. What a gorgeous ice cream. Yes, it's time to get back to chocolate!

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  3. A beautiful process and scrumptious looking outcome.

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  4. Lovely recipe Magda - bannana and chocolate are always a happy union!

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  5. Perfect! I need a beautiful ice cream recipe that doesnt require a maker. Bookmarked!

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  6. Thank you all. Glad you like it!

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  7. I used to go to a little roadside restaurant in upstate New York that had amazing homemade banana ice cream - nothing was better. Well, not until I heard about adding chocolate! I can't wait to try this perfect summer dessert. ~ David

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  8. There is absolutely nothing more lovely than the mixture of chocolate & bananas....and in an ice cream, even more wonderful. Thanks for the simple, but perfect recipe.

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  9. Oh my, such delicious ice cream. I will definitely have to try this one. Your blog is beautiful. I found you via Mrs M. Hello!

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  10. Isn't it funny that younger adults and kids usually don't like the fruit and chocolate combo, but then we all tend to develop a taste for it over the years? I never would have eaten cherries, bananas or raspberried with chocolate and now I sometimes find myself craving it!

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  11. Plenty of time for chocolate all fall and winter :) This looks SO good! I love making ice cream with banana, but the consistency of yours looks so perfect.

    Sues

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  12. Gorgeous photos! I recently discovered I have an ice-cream maker, so I will bookmark this recipe!

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  13. This combo is my husband's FAVORITE ice cream. I've been making it this past summer here in Pennsylvania. I'm going to try your version the next time.

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