Recipe: Banana ice cream with salted date caramel

Cool down when temperatures are rising with these yummy sweet treats


Makes: around 1 litre


For the salted date caramel:
100g unsalted butter
100g light muscovado sugar
3 bay leaves
100ml pure double cream
Pinch of salt flakes
80g plump Medjool dates

For the ice cream:
400g ripe bananas (peeled weight), chopped
240ml milk
240ml double cream
40ml Amontillado or medium sherry
6 egg yolks
50g caster/superfine sugar
50g liquid glucose
1 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt


● To make the salted date caramel: melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Once melted, stir in the sugar and heat gently until it has dissolved, stirring to help it along.

● Add the bay leaves to the pan and simmer for a few minutes. Don't worry if it seems resolutely unamalgamated at this stage, it will come together when you add the cream.

Pour in the cream (watching for splutters) and stir briskly until it melts magically into a thick, glossy sauce. Add the salt and simmer for a few minutes.

● Remove the pan from the heat and tip the caramel into a jar until needed. The sauce keeps for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

● To make the ice cream: put the chopped bananas in a heavy-based pan with the milk and cream. Bring to a bare simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

● Towards the end of the cooking time, add the sherry.

● Remove from the heat and set aside for an hour to infuse. Discard half the bananas and transfer the rest, with the infused cream, to a food processor. Whizz to a fine purée then push through a sieve into a clean pan. Return to the heat and bring to a simmer.

● In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and glucose until thick and creamy. Slowly pour on a quarter of the hot banana milk, whisking continuously.
Return the mixture to the pan and whisk briskly.

● Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens to a custard consistency.

● Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and salt, and cool immediately in a sink of iced water. Stir from time to time to help the custard cool quickly. Refrigerate.

● When chilled and ready to churn, pour the custard into an ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a plastic container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

● When ready to serve, tip the caramel into a small pan and warm gently. Blanch the dates for 1 minute in boiling water. Peel and discard the skins and stones, then dice the dates finely and add them to the caramel. Serve while warm with the ice cream.

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