Saturday, August 13, 2011

Banana Ice Cream with Toasted Pistachios

My husband, whom I affectionately refer to as Le Chef when he gets doctrinaire about culinary conventions, is a classicist when it comes to ice cream. No such thing as froyo will ever cross his lips. By his way of thinking, if it doesn’t contain eggs and wasn’t made from a custard base, then it ain’t ice cream.

Me, I don’t share his reservations about eggless ice cream. The only principal I stand on is taste. And let me tell you, this eggless ice cream tastes divine. Even better- it’s best made with bananas just on the brink of going bad. Scrumptious and I can use up food that would otherwise go to waste? Sign me up. 

After making this ice cream for a few summers now and always having it all to myself, Le Chef has now deigned it worthy of his spoon. Dammit if I didn’t go to get a scoop the other night only to find that he had already polished it off.

So consider that a stamp of approval. This ice cream is so good my stubborn husband made an eggsception for it.

Banana Ice Cream with Toasted Pistachios
adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich

When I say ripe bananas, I mean just before they turn bad. You want the banana flesh to be really soft but without brown spots. The sugar measurement below is a guide- add a tablespoon or two and taste your base to check for sweetness. Sometimes I add 2 tablespoons, sometimes 4 tablespoons- it just depends on how sweet and ripe the bananas were to begin with. Once frozen, the flavor of the ice cream will be blunted a bit so don’t be conservative. (Can I tell you how hard I had to struggle to not follow that statement up with a political jab?) I really like pistachios with my banana ice cream but it’s still delicious on its on if you decide to skip the nuts. If you do add nuts, don’t buy roasted, salted pistachios at the store. Their flavor is dulled once they’ve been sitting in a store bin or bag for a few months. Buy raw pistachios and toast and salt them yourself.

2 cups banana puree, from 4-5 medium sized, very ripe bananas
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pistachios, toasted and salted, for topping

1. Pour pureed bananas into a medium sized bowl and add cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
2. Allow the ice cream base to chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or put in the freezer for approximately 20-30 minutes.
3. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the machine’s directions.
4. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for 3-4 hours.
5. While the ice cream is setting up in the freezer, toast the pistachios by spreading the nuts out on a baking sheet and baking in a 325º Fahrenheit oven for approximately 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt while still warm.


  1. I can think of NOTHING better to make in August-Texas-Heat than ice cream. Shelley, this looks scrumptious! I could dive into the screen right now and go to *town* on that bowl! Really love the combination of banana and the slightly salty pistachio--brilliant. Also, would really love to know what your political jab have more restraint that I do! ;) Happy Saturday from H-town! xo

  2. Days like today I wonder why I don't own an ice cream maker?!!! Looks gorgeous and I bet tastes even better. Suddenly I have an intense craving for pistachios!

  3. Your ice cream looks absolutely wonderful, Shelley! I love that it doesn't have eggs and I bet it is just as creamy with bananas. I can't wait to try this one. I hope it starts cooling down a bit for you there. Have a great week!

  4. I love how quickly this can become ice cream since there's no custard making involved! I kid you not, the only food cravings I have these are for cold food. And, cold with crunchy pistachios sounds perfect.

  5. Beautiful. I am bookmarking this recipe. Do you think frozen bananas would work? I already have 3 old bananas waiting in the freezer.
    *kisses* HH

  6. Shelly, since we always have extra banana at home, I think this will be a great way to use it cream...looks delicious with pistachio.
    Hope you are having a great week :-)

  7. I'm not sure why I never thought of banana ice cream because it is pure brilliance. I can't think of a better combo. I have a freezer full of black bananas.... hmmmm.... Thanks! xo

  8. @HH and RedMenace- I haven't tried making the ice cream with frozen bananas but it sounds like a good idea to me. Let me know if you try it- would love to hear how it worked.

  9. I don't have a machine!! :( Now what to do?

  10. Shelley, your ice cream rocks! Bananas and pistachios are a heavenly combination. Bananas always seem to go bad so fast, so I know what I'll be doing with them next time I have some almost-gone specimen sitting on my counter top. :-)

  11. Shelly

    This looks excellent, and even better without the egg. Then there's slightly less cholesterol guilt. I bet this is really good in that Texas heat you've been enjoying lately.