Back when I was living in Sunderland, whenever I went to the cinema I like treating myself to a scoop or two of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. My favourite has got to be the Chunky Monkey which is banana ice cream with fudge chunks and walnuts. Hmmm... doesn't that sound delicious?! I just love its nursery sweetness.
And for some inexplicable reason, I would only have this ice cream exclusively at the cinema; even though the ice cream is widely available in supermarkets.
The other day I went to see the new X-Men movie (such a great movie and I love Jennifer Lawrence) at my local cinema here in Medan. I went to the concession stands to check out what snacks they have... you know, the usual popcorn, nachos, sweets, etc... and sadly, no ice cream :( So I thought, why not try making it at home... and this banana and almond ice cream is what I came up with.
I was going to use walnuts in this ice cream, sticking to its original inspiration; but when I went to the shop, surprise surprise, walnuts were not available (story of my life...). So, I opted for almonds instead. Use any nuts you like... I suspect cashews or pecans will be nice as well. Or if you're not a fan of nuts, simply omit them.
I must say I am very happy with this ice cream. It's creamy, rich and comforting. And most importantly, it's easy to make. Though you do need to make a custard, but it's not at all difficult.
Question of the day, what's your favourite snack to have at the cinema?
This banana and almond ice cream is also my second entry for this month's BSFIC Challenge hosted by the brilliant Kavey. The theme this month is fruity ice cream, so if you plan to make a fruit base ice-cream in the next few days, be sure to join in. My first entry was strawberry and rosewater ice cream.
Banana and Almond Ice Cream
500 ml full fat milk
500 ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
6 egg yolks
170 gr caster sugar
300 gr bananas, from 3 or 4 bananas depending on size
50 ml milk
75 gr whole almonds or walnuts
Start by making the custard base. Pour the milk and double cream into a saucepan along with a vanilla pod that's been split down in the middle lengthwise to expose the seeds. Bring this mixture almost to a boil, then take it off the heat and leave to infuse for 15 to 20 minutes. Then take out the vanilla pod. You can let it dry and add it to your sugar pot to make vanilla sugar.
Bring the milk and cream again to a simmer. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow. Slowly and gradually pour and whisk in the warm vanilla cream to the yolks. Return this mixture to the saucepan and continue cooking over low heat, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon until it thickens. When it's done, take it off the heat and pour into a bowl to cool slightly. Give it a stir every now and then so that no skin will form on top of the custard.
Make the banana puree by simply blending the bananas with 50 ml of milk so that the mixture isn't too thick. Fold this peanut butter like puree into the slightly cooled custard. If using an ice cream maker, follow the manufacturer's instruction. If you don't have one, just put the ice cream base into a covered container and stick it in the freezer. Take it out after an hour and give it a good beating with a whisk. This will prevent ice crystals from forming and you'll end up with smooth and silky ice cream.
Lightly toast the nuts of your choice in the oven or I just do it on the stove. Heat a frying pan on the stove and add a single layer of nuts. Do not add any oil. The nuts contain enough oils of their own to cook. Stir frequently until the nuts turn golden brown and you can really smell their aroma. Remove from heat and let the cool before giving them a rough chop.
After the second hour in the freezer, take the ice cream out for another 'beating' and fold in the nuts. Making sure they're dispersed throughout. Put the ice cream back in the freezer and do this again in an hour for the last time before putting it back in the freezer to chill completely. After a few hours, I think you know what to do next... :)