Thursday, 20 December 2012

Instant banana ice cream

This cheat's ice cream is the best way I know to use up overripe bananas. It's not quite instant but it involves very little work, has only one ingredient and tastes amazing.

Ice cream is one of those things I always have in the freezer as I don't make puddings unless I have guests or some fruit to use up. It has to be premium ice cream for me and a small bowlful is plenty to satisfy any cravings I have for fat and sugar. Bananas have both without the need to add any extras and the simplicity of this does away with hours of making a custard base, churning and rechurning.You don't need an ice cream machine either, just a food processor.

I've been making this for so long that I have no idea where I originally discovered this. A friend who knows about such things explained the science to me - namely, that when bananas are frozen the fat they contain undergoes some kind of transformation and blitzing it produces the same creamy texture you get in proper ice cream. Whatever - it works!

What you need: 
4-6 very ripe bananas

What to do:
Peel the bananas and slice into 1cm rounds, discarding any blackened or badly bruised flesh. Spread the slices on a baking sheet and pop in the freezer for about an hour - they should be three-quarters frozen, not solid.

Put the three-quarters frozen banana slices into a food processor and blitz them until smooth. Put into a suitable container and refreeze. This makes about a pint / 1/2 litre depending on the size of the bananas.

Cook's tips: 
It's really important that you don't over-freeze the banana - blitzing it fully frozen could burn out the motor  in your food processor. If the slices have frozen solid, leave them to soften a bit before processing.

This freezes rock hard once blitzed and refrozen so take it out of the freezer for 10-15 minutes to soften slightly before scooping a portion.

Extras -  you can, of course, add extra ingredients once you've pulped the banana flesh. Things I've tried that work well include chocolate chips, dessicated coconut, chopped nuts (pistachios, brazils and walnuts are especially good), candied peel. and chopped glacé cherries. For an even creamier texture you could stir through some double cream or Greek yoghurt after processing. Beware of using crème fraiche as it can split when it thaws.

As far as I know this will keep indefinitely, although it's never lasted long enough for me to find out!