Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

banana ice cream

The first time I had real banana ice cream (as in made from actual bananas) was in Paris. I was 20 years old and working as an Au Pair for a French family. Naively, I went with the impression that I’d be visiting museums and lingering in Parisian cafés but instead I was taking care of three mischievous little boys – ages 2, 4 and 6 – ironing for hours on end (the French iron everything – even toddler clothes!) and doing lots of errands. It was an all-too-early taste of motherhood for sure, but the job had one thing going for it: Every morning after I dropped the kids off at school, my host mother would send me from block to block to pick up meats from the boucherie, breads from the boulangerie, and seasonal produce from the open-air markets. And, if she was entertaining, she’d send me to Berthillon, a famous ice cream shop on the charming Île St-Louis, to pick up a block of freshly made ice cream or sorbet.

Paris

I tried many flavors from Berthillon on those little excursions, but banana was my absolute favorite. It tasted like banana bread in ice cream form. I’ve never been able to find Berthillon’s recipe, but this version, adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, brings back all those delicious taste memories for me.

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It’s very simple to make, as long as you have an ice cream maker.

Begin with 3 very ripe, spotty bananas.

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Slice them into small chunks, then toss them with brown sugar and a pad of butter.

Banana ice cream 1

Roast them in a hot oven until soft and caramelized.

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Blitz the caramelized bananas in a blender with whole milk, a few tablespoons sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and a hint of salt.

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Chill the mixture in the refrigerator, then freeze in an ice cream machine.

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As with most homemade ice creams, the mixture will not get completely firm in the machine. It’s best to transfer the creamy ice cream to a plastic tub and freeze it for a few hours until firm enough to scoop.

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The beauty of banana ice cream is that it’s naturally low in fat. The thick texture of the puréed bananas makes it incredibly rich and creamy without the addition of eggs or heavy cream. All the more reason to try it!

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

Print Recipe
Servings: About 3 cups (see note below)

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized overripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Slice the bananas into 1/2-inch pieces and toss them with the brown sugar and butter in a 2-quart baking dish until the sugar dissolves into a wet caramel-colored coating. Bake for about 40 minutes, stirring once during baking, until the bananas are soft and golden brown.
  3. Immediately transfer the bananas and caramel syrup into a blender or food processor (if you wait too long, the caramel will begin to harden). Add the milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and salt, and purée until smooth. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  4. Give the mixture a quick whisk, then freeze in ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer soft ice cream to plastic container and chill for a few hours until firm. Scoop and serve.
  5. Note: My only issue with this recipe is that it makes a rather small quantity of ice cream. If you double it, it makes 6 cups of ice cream base, which is too much for most standard ice cream machines. I have two bowls for my ice cream maker so I typically double the recipe and freeze it in two batches. If you only have one bowl and want to double the recipe, you can save half the base in the refrigerator overnight, then re-freeze your bowl for the second batch.
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  • Yum! I can’t wait to try this as I have been freezing bananas to make into my own “ice cream” for ages. It’s my husband’s favorite!

  • I’m gonna bookmark this and will make it when I buy that ice cream maker I’ve been eyeing!

  • Bridget

    This recipe is delicious and easy! I used frozen over-ripe bananas that I had saved to use for banana bread and it turned out great. You’ve rekindled my affection for my ice cream maker that had been collecting dust in the closet.

  • Caramelised bananas sound delicious! In ice cream, they must be just splendid!

  • This recipe looks delicious. I love bananas and the thought of caramelized banana ice cream sounds incredible. I am going to have to get The Perfect Scoop book. I’ve seen so many foodies adapting delicious ice cream recipes from it.

  • bethy

    OMG, this is insanely delicious. this rivals some italian gelato i had in venice recently, and that is a high bar to match! unbelievable. i don’t know how you got it so creamy and the carmelized banana flavor is out of this world. thank you. keep them coming!

  • I love the Perfect Scoop. Such great recipes. This one looks like a winner!

  • Reed G

    This is one of the best ice creams I have ever made! I have made a bannana ice cream before but this one beats it!

  • Lesley

    I agree with the other commenters — this is the best ice cream. My whole family loved it. Very healthy. The bananas are good alone, too.

  • Jean

    Last weekend, for Mother’s Day, I received a KA ice cream maker; okay there were plenty of breadcrumbs that lead to DH purchasing this including the most obvious – a 20 percent off coupon clipped to the product picture. Our maiden recipe was Caramelized Banana Ice Cream.

    Heavenly Mother’s Day.

    This is an intriguing and simple recipe that pays off with a delectable treat. Our next culinary experiment may be the Tangy Frozen Yogurt.

    Thank you, Jenn.

  • Jay Cohen

    I’ve heard great thinks about the “Scoop”. I just ordered Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, which also has gotten great reviews. Thanks for posting this recipe, plan to make this weekend.

    Jay

  • Leslea

    This was my first try at ice cream and we loved it! This is an amazing recipe and was so easy. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Elizabeth C. in Kansas

    I cannot WAIT to make this variation of banana icecream using my new Cuisinart icecream maker. Yay!

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