I've had a lot of bananas around lately for various recipes I've been testing, and there's only so many loaves of banana bread this girl can make. Banana pudding is an all-time favorite in my house, but I've already locked down my favorite recipe for that. It was time to think outside the box. Ice cream Week got my creative wheels turning, and next thing you know, I'd created a recipe for banana pudding ice cream that tasted mighty similar to the real thing (in a much cooler, creamier form).
The trick I've been using lately in my banana recipes is to roast the bananas before cooking with them. I know the best thing to do is let your bananas sit on the counter and get as black as black can be, but honestly that kind of grosses me out. So instead, I let the oven do the work—the heat concentrates the flavor into sweet banana goodness.
This banana pudding ice cream is amazing as is, but I decided to take it one step further and turn it into pie. I figured a Nilla wafer crust would be the perfect crunchy contrast to the custard. And garnished with a little wafer rim? So cute! It's definitely a fun new twist on an ol' Southern classic.
Banana Pudding Ice Cream Pie
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups Nilla wafer crumbs (about 40 wafers)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 stick butter, melted
For the ice cream:
2 ripe, unpeeled bananas
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole or 2% milk
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the pie:
Vanilla wafers, split in half
Whipped cream, for topping
For the crust: Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together the wafer crumbs and sugar. Pour in the melted butter until well combined. Firmly press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan to form a crust on the bottom. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and chill until firm, about an hour.
For the ice cream: With the oven still at 350°F, place bananas on a foil-lined sheet pan and pierce a few times with a fork or toothpick. Cook for 15 minutes, until the banana peels are blackened. Remove the pan from oven and set aside to cool.
Heat cream and milk in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat until just scalded. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and salt on high speed until pale and thickened, about 2 minutes. Add a cup of scalded cream to the egg mixture and whisk vigorously. Pour the tempered (warmed) eggs back into the sauce pan with the remaining cream.
Reduce heat to low/medium-low. Cook, whisking frequently, until the custard reaches 185°F on an instant-read thermometer, and is thick enough to just coat the back of a spoon. Remove pan from the burner, stir in vanilla extract, and continue stirring for another minute or so to release some of the heat. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired.
In a large mixing bowl, peel and mash the cooled bananas. Whisk one cup of warm custard into the bananas, followed by the remaining custard. Chill mixture in the refrigerator or an ice water bath until completely cool, stirring occasionally, about 1-2 hours. Freeze custard according to your ice cream maker's instructions.
Pour the ice cream into the prepared crust. Line the edge of the pie with halved Nilla wafers. Freeze the pie until the ice cream is firm. Serve slices with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)