It’s not really warm enough outside to be thinking about ice cream but when faced with yet another bowl of over-ripened bananas, what to do?
Well, it could have been Banana Poppy Seed Cake with White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Frosting, but in fact it was a recipe for Banana Cashew Ice Cream in last month’s edition of Waitrose Kitchen adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s latest book River Cottage Light & Easy: Healthy Recipes for Every Day that really grabbed my attention because it looked to be, and in fact is, dead simple to make, problem-free and above all, refreshingly delicious.
My ice cream just naturally evolved into Banana Cashew & Rum Ice Cream because banana flavour marries so well with rum that I couldn’t resist adding a tablespoon or three of alcohol to the recipe! Nor is my version dairy-free, since the colour (the bananas discolour whilst you’re waiting for the mixture to cool) and the texture are enhanced by adding double cream (it makes for a paler and creamier ice). Furthermore, as the total carbohydrate count is identical for both recipes there’s no need to beat myself up over the extra indulgence! In fact, in for a penny in for a pound, I suggest you serve this ice cream with hot chocolate sauce spooned over.
As ever, the quality of your ingredients will determine the results. Hold your nerve with the bananas - they need to be ripened to the stage where the skins are beginning to be mottled with black. Also, make sure that you buy the finest chocolate you can afford (at least 70%). You can then sit back because you will have created something totally scrumptious.
Banana, rum and chocolate is simply a flavour match made in heaven, add to that the contrast between hot and cold and we could all be screaming for ice cream!
Banana Cashew & Rum Ice Cream with Hot Chocolate Sauce (V) (Serves 6)
Ingredients - for the ice cream
75g (2¾oz) raw organic cashews - soaked in cold water for 4-6 hours (or overnight) and drained
2 large or 4 small slightly over-ripe bananas (about 400g / 14oz unpeeled weight)
125g (4½ oz) clear organic honey
½ lemon, juice
125ml (4½ fl oz) double cream
3-4 tbsp rum
Peel the bananas and break into chunks. Put them in a blender with the drained cashews, honey, lemon juice and 100ml cold water and blend until smooth.
Pour into a jug and press a piece of cling film directly on top of the liquid and up the sides of the jug to prevent air getting to it - this will minimise the bananas discolouring. Chill until cold.
When cold enough, stir in the chilled double cream then gradually start adding the rum a tablespoon at a time, tasting as you go. Even if you like it strong, 4 tablespoons is probably the optimum amount you’ll need.
Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker until it is the consistency of very thick cream, then quickly transfer to a plastic freeze-proof container and freeze until solid.
If you don’t have an ice cream machine, pour into a plastic freeze-proof container and freeze for about an hour until the sides start to get solid. Then mash with a fork to combine the solid ice cream at the sides of the container with the still liquid centre. Straightaway, put it back into the freezer for another half-hour then take it out again and repeat the mixing and mashing. Continue doing this every half hour until the ice cream is soft-set, then let it freeze solid.
Take out of the freezer and put in the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before serving to allow the ice cream to soften slightly.
Ingredients - for the chocolate sauce
200ml (7fl oz) whipping or double cream
100g (3½oz) good quality dark chocolate, chopped (I use Callebaut’s finest dark chocolate chips, which saves me the bother of chopping!)
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
Knob of good quality salted butter (I used Rodda’s)
In a small pan heat the cream to scalding point (just below boiling). Take the pan off the heat.
Add the chocolate to the cream, whisking continuously until the chocolate is melted and you have a smooth sauce.
Add the vanilla essence and finally whisk-in the butter.
Gently re-heat the sauce if necessary but do not allow it to boil. Spoon immediately over ice cream.
Alternatively, keep warm over a pan of barely simmering water until you're ready to serve.
Carbohydrate 34g Protein 2g - per serving of ice cream
Carbohydrate 9g Protein 3g - per serving of chocolate sauce