Cranberry Banana Ice Cream

December 6th, 2013 2:19 pm by Kelly Garbato

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In the four days between my making this ice cream and photographing it, Shane asked me every single night whether I’d taken the pictures yet – since he’s not allowed to eat the homemade ice cream until I can photograph it for the blog. A little whinier each night, he sounded a kid waiting for…well, his ice cream. Annoying and a slightly endearing all at once. Needless to say, he’s super-stoked to see this post go up!

This is a pretty simple recipe, and a tasty way to use up leftover cranberry sauce. By my best estimate, you’ll need about a cup of cranberry sauce per four to five bananas, which ultimately yields about a quart of ice cream. But just in case you like your ice cream with an extra cranberry kick, I included instructions for making two cups of sauce. You can stick with my basic recipe or swap it out for your own favorite version. Just be sure to simmer as much of the moisture out as you can!

Also, feel free to dress this up with chocolate chips and dried cranberries; cinnamon (~ 1 teaspoon), nutmeg (~ 1/4 tsp), and allspice (a dash); some extra lemon or orange zest, perhaps in addition to a few tablespoons of frozen OJ concentrate); or a shot of bourbon or triple sec.

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Cranberry Banana Ice Cream

(Makes a little more than a quart of ice cream.)

Ingredients

4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

(This makes about two cups of cranberry sauce, or enough for 1 to 1 1/2 or even 2 batches of ice cream, depending on how heavy your hand. You can use the leftovers as an ice cream sauce, in oatmeal, on savory foodstuffs, etc. If you’d rather not have any extras, reduce this recipe by half.)

4-5 overripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen
sugar to taste (optional)
a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer, if needed

Directions

1. Begin by making the cranberry sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until the berries burst (about ten minutes). Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened up considerable. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature until continuing to step #2.

2. Transfer one cup of the cranberry sauce to a food processor and pulse until it’s relatively smooth. Some chunks are okay.

3. Put the bananas in the food processor and pulse until smoothly blended. Most likely you’ll need to stir them by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl. If necessary, add a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer to get things moving!

Alternately, you can allow the bananas to defrost on the counter top for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, so that they’re easier to work with. Before putting them in the food processor, break them up into smaller chunks with a butter knife.

Note: Since introducing extra liquids (such as non-dairy milk) into the mix results in a slightly icier finished product, I prefer defrosting to non-dairy milk. If you’re in a hurry, pop the bananas in the microwave for 20 to 45 seconds instead.

4. If the bananas aren’t sweet enough for your taste (sometimes this happens if you freeze them before they’re sufficiently ripe), add a bit of sugar to taste. Any sugar works fine – white, brown, etc. – but I find that powdered sugar results in a smoother blend. If you’d like a stronger cranberry taste, add some more sauce.

5. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the ice cream in the freezer for an hour+ for a firmer dessert. Store any leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container. If the frozen banana ice cream proves too hard to scoop, microwave it for ten seconds to help loosen it up (or let the container sit on the counter for ten to thirty minutes prior to eating, depending on room temp).

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