I have to tell you the story about this ice cream. There are two parts to this tale. The first part is how it came into my life. I’m fortunate enough to travel to New Orleans once a month to work with my friend Joy, on photographing for her blog. Last year, during one of my trips in the summer, when the weather was brutal, we stopped to get a pre-dinner snack of ice cream. We were actually on our way to dinner, and Joy noticed an ice cream shop that she’d been meaning to try because she heard good reviews about it. So we stopped in and grabbed a scoop of ice cream each. I picked banana pudding because I was in the south and any other flavor just wouldn’t be right, and she picked some sort of chocolate hazelnut flavor I believe. That memory is a bit hazy. Anyhow, we made a deal that we’d eat the ice cream until we got to the car because we were on our way to dinner after all. The thing is I didn’t know about this deal until we got to the car, so Joy got in and stopped eating her ice cream and so I was wadding around outside the door, eating my ice cream as fast as I could because it was that good!
Since that moment, I become determined to recreate that banana pudding ice cream at home. This was last year, and so the second part to my story begins here. When I was determined to make this ice cream and shoot it for the blog, my ice cream maker stopped working. I never got around to getting a new one, and so when Christmas came around I asked Santa for an ice cream maker and there it was under the tree. So then cut to us now, I was finally able to make it and share it with you all. So even if for nothing else, other than the ice cream looks delicious, I feel like now you have to give it a try because of everything I went through to make it. It was worth it though. Also, I know it’s winter right now and we’re not in the ice cream mindset yet, but I grew up eating things during opposite seasons. I always (and still do) crave ice cream when it’s cold and soup when it’s super hot. My mom would make soup on the hottest day of the year, and so now that’s when I crave it the most. Let’s not talk about it, instead let’s Cheers to the Weekend!
Let’s begin by making the custard for the ice cream base. Don’t let this whole concept scare you, though. It’s pretty simple, and I’ll be sure to make it easier on you! In a medium saucepan, combine the half and half, sugar and salt. Set over medium-low heat and heat until warmed through, to about 175 degrees F.
**Note: You don’t want to heat the mixture to the point where it boils over. Heat it slow, watching it closely so that it just barely begins to simmer. Use a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature.**
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs. Then slowly, and very slowly, stream in the heated half and half mixture, all the while whisking.
**Tip: This is called “tempering” the eggs. If you were to throw the eggs into the hot mixture all at once, you run the risk of the eggs cooking and creating scrambled eggs. So when you temper the eggs, you whisk the warmed mixture, into the eggs very slowly to bring it put to the same temperature.**
Once all of the half and half has been added to the eggs, pour the mixture back into the pot and return to the heat. Cook over low, stirring nonstop, until the mixture has reached 160 degrees F, and has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon.
**Note: It’s important to whisk nonstop at this stage so that the custard does not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.**
Once thickened, remove the pot from the heat and then pour into a large bowl. Lower the temperature right away by dipping the bottom of the bowl into an ice bath. While the pot is in the ice bath, stir the mixture for about 2 minutes to help it cool down fast. Remove the bowl from the ice bath, and cover with a piece of plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the top of the custard. Then cover tightly with another piece of plastic. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
**Note: I prefer chilling the mixture overnight because it makes for a smoother ice cream, since it’s chilled thoroughly.**
When ready to churn, mash the bananas in a bowl until completely smooth. Then stir into the chilled custard.
**Tip: If you want a very smooth banana ice cream, you can add the bananas to a blender or food processor and blend them with a bit of the custard until smooth. Then whisk it into the main base.**
Pour the custard into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. You want it to be thickened and frozen through. Each machine is different, but it should take about 25 to 30 minutes.
Pour a bit of the banana ice cream into separate freezer safe containers. I like using these disposable ice cream containers. Then begin the layering process, by layering a bit of the whipped topping and then some of the crushed wafers. Then repeat with more ice cream, more whipped topping and wafers, until all of the ingredients are used up.
**Note: I know that using frozen whipped topping isn’t the ideal situation but it really is the best ingredient for the ice cream. It freezes perfectly, and holds up better in the ice cream than real whipped cream.**
Once the containers have been layered, cover tightly with lids and place in the freezer to chill for about 4 hours. Again, you can do this overnight if you wish. You just want to freeze it again until solid, it makes easier when scooping the ice cream.
Once you’re ready to serve the banana pudding ice cream, you can scoop it into bowls or cones! Because I’m still a kid at heart, I love cones. I like the flat-bottomed cones, but sugar cones or even those new fancy cone bowls would be great! If you’re like my mom, you can scoop it into small bowls and place a cone on top!
This ice cream will keep in the freezer for up to 4 days. Although I guarantee you that it won’t last that long in your house. It’s super addicting, and if you love banana pudding, then you won’t be able to resist this ice cream. It’s great for parties as well, especially if chocolate cake is involved.
This ice cream, as with almost any banana dessert, is best when made with ripe bananas. Sometimes it’s hard to find ripe bananas at the store (or your live with a Julian like I do and they eat the ripe bananas before you get a chance to bake with them), so buy some unripe bananas and keep them in a brown bag a few days before you plan on making the ice cream. Or you can take a look at this article from Food & Wine.
If you’re not in the habit of making ice cream in the winter, like I am, then be sure to pin this recipe for later and make a mental note to try it out this summer! Although, I’m in the mindset of eating ice cream whenever and wherever, so this recipe is perfect anytime of year for me.
If you make this recipe, along with any other recipe from the site, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram or Facebook and tag me and hashtag it with #CandidAppetite or #TheCandidAppetite. Once you start making these Cheers to the Weekend recipes, be sure to also tag it with #TCAweekend! I’ll be monitoring it all closely and share my favorites throughout! Happy Cooking!
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 medium bananas)
- 1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 3 cups vanilla wafers, slightly crushed
- In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, whisk together the half and half, granulated sugar and salt. Heat until just warmed through, to about 175 degrees F. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, and slowly stream in the warmed half and half mixture, while whisking constantly. Once all have been added, pour the mixture back into the pot and return to the heat. Cook stirring nonstop, over low heat, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Remove from the heat and place the bottom of the pan into a bowl of cold water filled with ice. This will help cool the mixture quickly. While the saucepan is on the ice water, stir it for about 2 minutes to help it along. Remove from the ice bath, and stir in the heavy cream, evaporated milk and vanilla. Cover the top with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the custard. Then cover the bowl tightly with another piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled through, for several hours or overnight.
- When ready to churn, mash the bananas in a medium bowl, until fully smooth. Stir into the custard. Alternatively, you can blend the bananas with a bit of the custard in a blender or food processor until smooth, and then whisked back into the remaining custard. Pour into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's directions. Once thickened and frozen, turn the machine off.
- To layer assemble the ice cream, pour a bit of the banana ice cream into several freezer safe containers (or one large one), and then layer with a bit of the whipped topping, and crushed wafers. Then layer with another bit of ice cream and repeat with the whipped topping and wafers, until all the ingredients are used up. Cover tightly and freeze until firm, about 2 to 4 hours. Scoop out into bowls or cones and enjoy!
- Note: about 5 pints