There are a few foods that take me way, way back to my childhood. Orange danishes. Cheesecake. Anything combining peanut butter and banana. My momma's macaroni and cheese, her banana bread, and especially her banana pudding. Do you see a trend here? Banana popped up several times...I really, really, like banana. So you can imagine my excitement when my Charlottesville friend Stephanie, someone whom I think very well could have been separated from me at birth, brought homemade banana pudding ice cream to her dinner table one evening. And then again when Steph was spending an afternoon at my house, pointed to the pile of overripe bananas on my counter and said "Let's make ice cream! Right now." And now, when I sneak out to the kitchen mid-day, slip a spoon from a drawer, and sink it into the container of what's left for an afternoon pick-me-up.
This flavor will forever remind me of my Momma. Banana pudding was one of my very favorite edibles while growing up, but sitting here today I can't remember ever making it for myself as an adult. Its the kind of recipe that mommas make, and until I am one, I don't know that I will. But this ice cream, it takes the best of what banana pudding is...the creamy texture, the crunch of vanilla wafers, the real bananas puréed smooth...and creates a simple, elegant, dinner-party-worthy dessert. One that leaves you mostly speechless, lost in thought, and thoroughly happy.
My life has been a little sweeter lately because of banana pudding ice cream mingled with memories of home and youth. Steph, I owe you. Big time.
I wish that I could take credit for this fabulous recipe, but I cannot. This one I owe to my dear friend Stephanie, ice cream goddess and all-around awesome lady.
Banana Pudding Ice Cream
makes about 1 quart
- 5 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 very ripe bananas, mashed or puréed
- 1/2 cup vanilla wafers, broken to small pieces but not crumbs
- In a medium-size bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt, and set aside.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the milk and 1 cup of the cream just to a slow boil. Remove from heat and add to the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat gently, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 170˚. Do not bring to a boil or it will most likely curdle. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Pour custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Add the remaining cup of cream and the vanilla, and stir to incorporate. Add the puréed banana and stir to combine.
- Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. When the mixture is cool, cover the bowl completely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, pour the mixture into the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions. About 3 minutes before the ice cream is done freezing, add the vanilla wafers.