Thursday, 18 August 2011

Instant Homemade Banana Ice Cream with Warm Caramelised Bananas and Walnuts

You can't talk about crepes without thinking about ice cream. And something as posh and elaborate (ok no, fine, it's actually dead easy) as sourdough crepes needs something as luxurious as all-natural organic ice cream. So here's my homemade ice cream that's super delicious, takes just 1 ingredient (at its bare minimum), requires no time, effort or brains at all, and is actually healthy.

Too good to be true? Here's the answer:

Banana tree in my backyard in Singapore- talk about local and organic

I was watching an episode of Saturday's Kitchen with James Martin, and he shared his "instant" banana ice cream recipe. The man's brilliant. I doubt he's the first one to come up with this; I've seen this quite a few times online. To make banana ice-cream, all you really need is bananas. My initial version of banana ice cream was basically just poking a chopstick into a peeled banana, coating with melted chocolate/nut butter/nuts (optional), sticking it into the freezer, and hurray desert! The creamy starchy bananas makes for instant ice cream once frozen.

But to pimp it up a bit, you can add a bit of vanilla, or a bit of rum, or nut butter, or a bit of buttermilk (James Martin), or natural yogurt for a bit of tang and then blend it for a scoop-style ice cream.The recipe below is just to serve as inspiration- make it as vegan, nutty, or booze-y as you like.

Instant Homemade Banana Ice Cream
2 large bananas (I used over-ripe ones- no waste, plus no need for extra sweetening)
couple of drops of vanilla essence
2-3 tbsp whole (i.e. full-fat please!) organic yogurt

1. Peel and cut up bananas. Spread out on a tray/parchment paper. Place in freezer for 2 hours.
2. Blend the frozen banana chunks, and then add in the vanilla and yogurt.
3. Once it reaches a smooth, creamy consistency, you can serve it as it is for a soft gelato-texture ice cream, or freeze for a further few hours for a firmer ice cream.

But of course you want to pimp it up more.

So while the bananas are freezing, caramelise some bananas and walnuts. To go with the tropical banana flavours, I used gula melaka (an unrefined palm/coconut sugar that comes in solid cylinders, it's a favourite sweetener here in Singapore, because of its beautiful dark golden colour and distinct toffee-ish sweetness), but you can use cane sugar too, like the previous ginger caramelised peaches.

Caramelised Bananas and Walnuts
2 bananas, halved lengthwise and chopped
handful of walnuts, soaked and toasted
half a round (2 tbsp?) of gula melaka, chopped up (it comes in solid cylinders)
knob of salted butter
2 tsp water

1. Heat the sugar with the water over a medium-low heat, till melted, then stir in the butter.
2. Increase to a medium heat, add the bananas, cut side down, and cook for 1 min, before flipping over for another 30s. You will see the difference in colour (look at photo above), as the bananas take on the toffee hue and flavour of the syrup.
3. Add walnuts and toss to make sure bananas and walnuts are all coated with the syrup.
4. Remove from heat and let the hot mixture cool a little before spooning over ice cream. (I was a bit impatient as you can see..)

The ice cream started to melt shortly after I drizzled the very warm caramel juices over, so it looks like a mess, or like a very hot day (which it was). I don't know how those food photographers do it. I tried my best, then gave up after a few quick clicks, mainly because I wanted to eat it before it turned into a pool.

Looks aside, there's nothing better than an ice cream melting slowly into a warm sauce, that sweet, slightly tangy, banana-flavoured creaminess seeping into and mingling with the nutty caramel, especially against the sticky sweet bananas and crunchy walnuts. And better yet, the knowledge that it's not bad for you. Two perfect excuses to devour it fast.


  1. That looks AMAZING. Definitely making that this week!

  2. oh wow! looks and sounds amazing...i want to jump into the picture!! :)

  3. Oh my gosh! That looks amazing! Great idea for instant ice-cream and what a delectable dessert!

  4. Another thing that is really good is to blend peanut butter in with the frozen banana! mmm

  5. Mhmm Banana ice cream with caramelized bananas sounds amazing. Great pictures.

  6. thanks! I'm surprised the photos of melted ice cream turned out ok, but I promise I'll learn how to snap faster.

    gigi: great idea, that's one variation I've included above also!

  7. I've just got an ice-cream maker so will have to try this out for sure.

  8. Yogurt banana ice cream sounds like a great idea! I like the caramelised bananas and walnut topping too...yumm!

  9. Great idea that! Not sure my little blender can handle the frozen bananas though!

  10. This looks delicious. I don't think you could go wrong with carmelized bananas in the title.

  11. WAHHHHH my ideal dessert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

  12. thanks!

    gourmet chick: you don't even need an ice cream maker for this! i'm jealous though..

    biren: yes, banana fest!

    su-lin: it can it can! I did it in a tiny tiny blender too! just do a smaller portion at a time in case you're worried!

    mar: I just realised you also have a post on banana ice ream, using peanut butter! sounds like a really popular combi, i'll have to try it the next time!

    shuqi: heh we have another bunch of bananas hanging in the kitchen now. if you manage to avoid eating them all up in the next few days, I can do this again!

  13. my gosh, makes so much sense to make ice cream with just frozen bananas + yoghurt... would love to try this with greek yoghurt -- bookmarked!

    unfortunately, this dessert will have to wait because prices for bananas in australia now is seriously riDONKulous... at least i have something to look forward to when the season comes =)

  14. What a droolworthy combination! That is a fabulous dessert. Perfect when made with yogurt.



  15. Shu Han, you are so lucky that you have a banana tree outside your house! We search for a banana tree in HK so much...very rare here.

    THis post is very tempting and refreshing!! Perfect summer recipe (and full of Iron too!)

  16. I love caramelized bananas, but then to match it up with sourdough crepes and this ice cream? This looks amazing!

  17. winston:never realised bananas could be expensive, and forgot it's winter for some! I hope you get to try it out in summer(:

    rosa: thanks! the other variations would probabaly turn out yummy too!

    purabi: I know, and I never even fully appreciated it until I moved to London.. going to make use of this banana tree, fruits and leaves and all while I can!

    leemei, lori: thanks (:

  18. this is really interesting. Not milk and cream.

  19. I still have some bananas, i going to make this tomorrow, sound so delicious!

  20. Oh - my -goodness! Thank you for sharing this Shu Han!!! This looks soooo yummy, so, so delicious! I will absolutely be trying this recipe :)

    xx Emily

  21. It looks amazing, I scanned the last two pictures with my eyes for some time :)

  22. I am so gona try this! You inspire me to cook and share :) thank you!

  23. edith: yup no need for milk and cream in this one!

    sonia: late reply, but I hope you made it and enjoyed it (:

    emily: thanks emily!

    munaty: thanks(:

    alexandra: i'm chuffed! thank you(:

  24. Hi Shu Han, I so so lurve this post!! I never knew frozen banana tasted so much like ice-cream! I made the chopstick with banana first, with melted dark choc & chopped almond, then I tried the blended banana, with choc sauce and walnuts, then the caramelized banana with walnuts on crepe, and I love them all! Thank you so much for these 3 recipes for dessert!

    1. Hi Yixi! Yay thank you! I love frozen bananas too- so yummy and makes for guilt-free ice cream. So pleased you like it too and that you even tried all 3 ways :)