The things on the left are the smoked bananas

I came back from the gym and a long bike ride today and immediately made ice cream. I think there is something fundamentally wrong with my approach to exercise… Still, the results were delicious. This is actually one of the best ice cream’s I’ve ever made.

Smoked bananas are a snack food around Asia, and can be found in some Asian grocers. Small bananas are sliced, strongly smoked and partially dehydrated. The flavour may not be to everyone’s taste. A friend recently described the taste as ‘chewing on a wet cigar’, but don’t let that ringing endorsement put you off. The flavours and aromas are strong and complex with rich tobacco, vanilla and molasses notes, the sweetness of brown sugar and a mellow banana flavour. Those elements tempered and adjusted in ice cream form create a beautiful combination. I’ve used a heavy custard base here to stand up to the very strong flavours in the smoked banana.

This ice cream has a thick, creamy texture (it actually holds without melting for 5-10 minutes at room temperature) which matches extremely well with the smoky sweetness of the banana. The strength of it is that you probably couldn’t sit and eat a whole tub in a sitting – it’s more of a ‘one-scooper’ – but it would work well as an accompaniment in a multi-element dessert. In the future I might be tempted to serve this with a slice of toasted coconut cake, or even some croutons of banana bread for texture. Either way, I think I’m going to need to go to the gym again…

  • 70g smoked banana
  • 350ml full cream milk
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 400ml cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla paste

Roughly chop the smoked bananas and place in a small saucepan with cold milk. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat and leave to cool and infuse for 30 minutes. Puree the banana and milk in a blender until very smooth.

Beat the egg yolks and caster sugar together until foamy, pale and tripled in size. In a saucepan, bring the cream to the boil and then quickly whisk half of the hot cream into the egg mixture. Transfer the whisked egg mixture back into the remaining cream in the saucepan and whisk over low heat until it forms a loose custard that will coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard into the banana mixture and fold together. Transfer to a metal bowl sitting inside another larger bowl of ice and water and cool the mixture quickly by continuing to stir it for 5-10 minutes. Freeze in an ice cream churn until set.