For National Ice Cream Day (coming this Sunday, July16), I thought it might be interesting to do a round up of local restaurant ice creams. The unique flavors our chefs come up with are regularly mind-blowing and I can think of five spots off the top of my head worth bloviating about, but it seems the fates had something else in mind.
As I was pondering the direction of this beloved subject matter, I got an email from the PR firm who helps promote one of my favorite French Quarter restaurants Palm & Pine asking if I would be interested in one of their many delicious ice cream recipes. Was she reading my mind? Would I ever! They sent me the recipe and a lovely photo of the flavor I was most interested in, Banana Curry. Y’all know I have a thing for bananas, right?
Created by Olivia Hirsch and Amarys Koenig Herndon, the Banana Curry Ice Cream is a dreamy, Caribbean/Indian flavor combo, but I needed to tweak the 2.5 quart recipe a little because the quantity was too much for my little 1.5 quart Cuisinart ice cream maker.
Other than cutting everything in half, I had a few of other obstacles to overcome. First, while I definitely had curry powder, I did not have Chief Curry Powder, a Trinidadian/Jamaican blend much different than the one I possessed. I looked for it in local grocery stores, but eventually turned to Amazon.
Second, the original recipe instructed me to sous vide the ripe bananas. While I may be an adventurous cook and possess all kinds of lovely kitchen gadgets and doo-dads, I do not have a sous vide cooker, so I tried another trick I’d seen where you roast the bananas in the oven (peel on) to get a creamy consistency. As it turns out, this was not the way to go.
Third, I couldn’t get my hands on, nor did I have the patience to make boondi, a fried Indian snack made from chick pea powder. They usually have a pre-made version at Hong Kong Market, but the day I went they were out. C’est la vie!
So here’s the scoop! The Banana Curry ice cream I made had a great flavor, but the texture was strangely starchy/stringy/fibrous after I churned the ice cream. Was it because I didn’t sous vide the bananas? Were my bananas not ripe enough? Did I use a crappy brand of heavy cream?
Since, I’ve made ice cream a lot, I have to assume I messed up with the banana preparation. That doesn’t mean I’m not eating this batch, but I would like to try again. Maybe I should put a sous vide cooker on my Christmas list?
Though I’m sharing the recipe, edited for conversions and quantity, and a photo of my attempt, my suggestion would be to simply go to Palm & Pine and celebrate National Ice Cream Day with a well-made dessert crafted by professionals. They’d certainly love to see you! And if you’re not a fan of Curry Banana Ice Cream, they’ve got more:
Preserved Lemon Ice Cream – Chef Amarys’ favorite flavor – a bright, balanced dish with a salty, savory lemon flavor, complemented by yearlong salt preserved Meyer lemons and Mississippi raw honey.
Big Shot Black Cherry Ice Cream – This ice cream is made from Big Shot black cherry soda, and has just a hint of vanilla, sure to bring out your inner child!
Tropical Dream – Inspired by the Dreamsicle, this flavor has a creamy orange and vanilla base, complimented with mango, pineapple, papaya and dragon fruit.
Blueberry Sorghum – A beautiful, violet colored ice cream that will bring you back to summertime in the South with a deep blueberry flavor and subtle hints of molasses.
Huitlacoche & Mexican Vanilla Bean Ice Cream – With a nod to Mexico, this ice cream combines Huitlacoche a.k.a corn smut, a delicacy ingredient native to Mexico, with Mexican Vanilla Bean to create a unique flavor that tastes a little smoky, deeply savory and subtly sweet. (I do believe this amazing concoction is on the menu right now!)
*Lead image and recipe courtesy of Palm & Pine
**Conversions from metric to imperial measurements are approximate
Curry Banana Ice Cream
Makes approximately 1 1/4 quarts
500 g banana puree (6 very ripe bananas)
7.5 g vanilla extract (2 tsp.)
17.5 g rum (1 T and 1 tsp — I used Cheramie Rum)
75 g egg yolks (roughly 5 egg yolks)
199 g of granulated sugar (1 C)
2 C heavy cream
1 C whole milk
5 g Kosher salt (1 tsp.)
5 g turmeric powder (1 tsp.)
8.5 g Chief Curry Powder (1 1/2 tsp.)
1. Sous vide very ripe bananas for 5 hours at 131F. Strain out liquid and save for another use. Puree solids until smooth. (*Note – I did NOT do this and I believe it was my downfall. When I make it again, and I will, I’m going to try sous vide without the accoutrements)
2. Combine banana puree, rum, and vanilla.
3. Scald dairy with salt, turmeric and curry powder.
4. Whisk (I used a beater) sugar and yolks until smooth. (*Note – you’re essentially making a custard, so you want to beat the eggs and sugar until it reaches that oh-so magic ribbon stage)
5. Temper dairy into yolks, pour back into pot and cook the custard until it reaches 180F, or coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly.
6. Strain the custard through a chinois (another very expensive gadget I don’t have, so I used a fine mesh strainer) into the banana mixture and stir to combine.
7. Chill in an ice bath (or let it cool on your counter and stick it in the fridge)
8. Churn according to your ice cream maker’s specifications. Enjoy as a soft serve or freeze in a freezer safe container for a couple of hours for a firmer consistency.
*Yet another note — If you like to bake, I highly recommend buying a kitchen scale and making the switch from imperial to metric. The difference in my baked goods is definitely noticeable!