For the past few weeks, S has been testing banana cake recipes for two reasons. The first was part of our quest, mentioned in my previous post, for the perfect house cake. The second was because she had been recently asked to contribute a recipe that reminded her of home to a new cookbook and she had chosen the banana cake. Now, while I love her banana cake, there are sometimes when too much of a good thing can make you go, well, a little bananas.
In order to have enough ripe fruit (key word here being ripe) for her cakes, S had been stockpiling bananas like a gorrila about to face a harsh winter. And after tasting the sixth or seventh version of her cake, and having determined that, yes, she had indeed improved upon the original recipe, I had to say something. Well, actually, it was more of a cross between a whimper and whine. I asked her, as gently as possible, since she had now perfected her cake recipe, if perhaps there was something else we could do to the bananas because I really couldn’t look at another banana cake, let alone have a slice for breakfast.
Trying to be as helpful as possible (while also trying to ignore her icy look), I quickly made several suggestions, chief among them the ideas of a banana tart tatin or a banana ice cream. Fortunately, S remembered that there was indeed a banana ice cream recipe in a book by one of her favourite dessert chefs, Emily Luchetti, and so, instead of bonking me on the head with a wooden spoon — which she seemed ready to do — she went off looking for her copy of A Passion for Ice Cream.
That same weekend, by chance, S had promised to show a friend how to make some super-delicious cookies. Said friend C wanted a recipe that was super-easy but whose results were super-impressive. S chose Claudia Fleming’s chocolate brownie cookies (I like to call them “crownies”). Not only are these melt-in-your-mouth cookies sinfully rich and yummy, they make the perfect sandwhich cookies for ice creams.
Suffice it to say that as soon as S and C were finished making their crownies, I was stealing them to assemble banana ice cream sandwiches.
Banana Ice Cream
from Emily Luchetti’s A Passion of Ice Cream
2 bananas (large size, or 4 small Asian ones)
3 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup milk
1.25 cups heavy (whipping) cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until soft and beginning to give off some liquid. Let cool. Remove the skins from the bananas and puree them in a food processor.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt. Combine the milk, cream and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasiionally, until almost simmering. Slowly pour the milk and cream into the eggs, whisking as you pour. Return the milk mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant plastic or wooden spatula, until the custard reaches 175 degrees F and lightly coats the spatula.
Strain the custard into a clean bowl and cool over an ice bath until room temperature. Stir the banana pureee into the custard and let rest in your fridge for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Churn in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze until scoopable, about 4 hours, depending on your freezer.
Chocolate Brownie Cookies
Makes 5 dozen cookies, from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course
35g all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 large eggs
½ tbsp brewed espresso
1 tsp vanilla extract
30g unsalted butter
140g extra-bittersweet chocolate, chopped
55g unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¾ cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, briefly whip the eggs to break them up. Add the sugar, espresso, and vanilla and beat on high for 15 minutes, until thick. While the eggs are whipping, place the butter in the top layer of a double boiler, or in a metal bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water, and scatter the chocolate on top. Heat until the butter and chocolate melt. Remove from over the water and stir the chocolate and butter until smooth. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until partially combined (there should still be some streaks). Add the flour mixture to the batter and carefully fold it in. If the batter is very runny, let it rest until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Drop the batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets and bake until puffed and cracked, 8 to 9 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before removing from the sheets.