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Jul 31, 2014 07:08 AM

Banana ice cream analysis and suggestions, please!

Hi all,
I've been on an ice cream kick this week and I made David Lebovitz's roasted banana ice cream. I love his book but this was the first recipe from the book I made that was not with egg yolks. The ice cream flavor itself is great-- and I added in melted bittersweet chocolate to cut the sweetness of the banana to make roasted banana straciatella.

My issue is the texture and I'm not sure if it's the bananas or the lack of egg yolks that's giving it a texture I don't like. It's scoopable and not too hard, but it has a distinctly loose "icy" appearance and tastes more watery than creamy. I can see ice crystals on the surface and the flavor is definitely not as rich (of course) as my custard based attempts. The roasted banana is simply pureed into the ice cream base, so I am assuming the water content of the banana affects the texture and causes it to be more watery/icey. A lot of the recipes from his book that I've tried have infusions rather than purees.

I have definitely had delicious, creamy, not icy banana ice cream flavors at ice cream shops. Is there a way to infuse banana flavor into a custard base without having the banana itself adversely affect the texture? Or will simply using a custard based recipe (like this one: ) solve the problem?

I also should mention I forgot to strain the base before chilling.


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  1. Did you strain excess liquid off of the cooked bananas (or reduce it) before making the ice cream base? Also, was there another thickener/stabilizer (like flour or cornstarch) used in the base? If not, either or both of those issues could be your culprit. If you like the roasted banana flavor, I would try using the MS recipe (or another trusted custard-based recipe) and just roast the bananas before proceeding.

    2 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      Hmm. The recipe calls for roasting the bananas with a bit of butter and brown sugar, and then after roasting he says to put the "syrup" formed plus the bananas right into the food processor with the other ingredients. It was definitely syrupy and thick and not watery. Do you think I should have left it out? There is no thickener in the ice cream. Thanks. I guess I will give the Martha Stewart recipe a go after I finish this quart and see how it fares. But first.... salted caramel ice cream!

      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

        No, that syrup has a lot of flavor, and if it was thick you probably ended up reducing the bananas' natural juices enough by roasting them anyway. I would guess that adding a stabilizer like egg yolks or cornstarch to the base would take care of the problem.

    2. You could also try replacing some of the sugar in the recipe with a liquid sugar substitute (corn syrup or honey). That generally helps give it a smoother, less icy texture. 2 tablespoons or so should be enough for a quart recipe.

      1. Did you let the ice cream chill (or set) in the freezer for a few hours before eating?

        Letting it rest in the freezer (after it's been churned) helps with the texture, esp. when dealing with an ingredient like bananas.

        1. i have made this ice cream. it's been perfect when i make it. are you letting it "cure"? the grainy, icy, watery thing hasn't happened with me. but i didn't add the chocolate. the smell of the roasting bananas drives me crazy, it smells so good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: eLizard

            Yes, I let the base sit in the fridge before churning and then let it sit in the freezer after churning. I'm glad to know that it came out well for you, because at least I know the recipe isn't a bust. It must have been something I did.

          2. Made this "ice cream" many times, i think it is one of the better ones from David's book, along with the Chocolate sorbet.
            Texture came out pretty well from machine, of course after freezer things not so great, but from machine if forms a great "Banana sherbet", did you use full fat milk ? Exact amount of butter and sugar ? And i think it is important to roast very well the bananas, i carmelize them to golden brown and let it continue for quite a long time at medium low heat, for sure has key affect on flavor and maybe also less water content for texture, but not really sure about that.
            If you want to go in a different direction, make your own banana puree with scraped vanilla beans and possibly a bit of maple syrop or brown sugar, just a bit, cook it for a very long time on medium low heat, concentrate it very well. Take about the same quantity of your regular made ice cream base mixed with the concentrated puree, will work well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: oferl

              So your end result was sherbety? Because that's what I'd say about this. It definitely is not creamy like the coconut ice cream (with a toasted coconut infusion and egg yolks) I made a couple days later. I used whole milk and heavy cream as specified by the recipe and the exact measurements of the other ingredients. The bananas were very very ripe when I roasted them and he says to roast them for 40 minutes; I actually felt that was too long as there was significant scorching of the syrup and I had to discard some.

              I'm definitely going to try the Martha Stewart version with egg yolks.