Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 10, 2010: Malted banana icecream

Regular readers know the backstory here by now - Michael's banana hatred knows no bounds, but we're receiving these fruits in our regular fruit & veg deliveries and I'm trying to get through them on my own. A few I eat as is, but I've also been making banana bread, shakes and cookies. Once ripe, bananas store well (peeled!) in the freezer - this makes them an excellent chilly replacement for icecream in smoothies and shakes, and when thawed they're even easier than usual to mash for baking.

ABB and Ruth alerted me to the fact that banana can substitute even more directly for icecream - frozen ones just need a spin in a food processor and apparently they transform into a soft-serve style delight. (Thinking back, this is probably what we ate for dessert at Continental House last year.) This month I saw the technique popping up on stonesoup, Vegan Family Vs Omni World and Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once. While I liked the idea of Haalo's rum'n'raisin flavouring, it was Jules' use of malted milk powder that I had to try.

My first shot didn't work out so well - I thought I'd just use my stick blender on a small banana as a single-serve taster and it was difficult to whip the banana to complete smoothness and thoroughly mix in the accompanying ingredients. With my next two bananas I played properly, using our food processor, and all fell into place. The bananas smoothed out and fluffed up - the texture really was impressive! Very much like a soft-serve icecream when served straight up. I also put some back in the freezer for later - though the colour browned a little, I was impressed all over again at how scoopable it remained days later.

The flavour, naturally, is banana all the way - you won't fool the haters with this one. I didn't think my malted milk powder quite stood up to it. But others have recommended adding other fruits, nut butter or cocoa and I'll be giving these variations a go. I've got nothing to lose, except for my currently expanding frozen banana collection!


  1. Sounds lovely. One of my favourite way of eatting an older banana is to mix a banana with, cream cheese and shaved chocolate. then place in a qtr piece of puff pastry folded into a triangle. Cook until puff is browned.

  2. after reading how half of the banana production in this country is going to waste because they dont meet the so call stantard, this is very fitting indeed!

  3. Ooh, I'm so glad you gave this a go. There's this great "holy shit!" moment when the bananas go from frozen chunks rattling round in the food processor to a smooth and creamy treat, and your cynicism instantly melts away.

    This page (scroll down) has a bunch of good variations:

  4. I first heard about this years ago and have been wanting to make it ever since, but we don't have a food processor. Who doesn't have a food processor, honestly... :S I already have a dozen flavour combinations in my mind... banana and cinnamon, banana and peanut butter, banana and cocoa powder, and now banana and malt! Thanks for intensifying the agony :P

  5. Hi Nudbot! Sounds delicious - it reminds me of a dessert my mum made occasionally, where she stuffed banana chunks, marshmallows and chocolate chunks into puff pastry and cooked them in a jaffle iron.

    Hi 3 hungry tummies! Glad to be doing my bit. :-)

    Thanks for the link, Ruth - I especially like the look of the orange-cranberry version. If only I could get my hands on some cranberries! Oh well, it's a good time of year to buy other berries at least.

    Hannah, I'm not the kind to hassle people into buying expensive stuff (or anything at all really), but seriously - food processors are awesome! We use ours several times a week.