Baked Sunday Mornings: Banana Pecan Piloncillo Ice Cream

This week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe is the Grasshopper Cake, a chocolate cake with chocolate-mint ganache and creme de menthe buttercream. While I rarely pass up the opportunity to bake a layer cake, I had too many other baking obligations this week and didn't have time to get to it. Plus, I made the grasshopper cake six years ago and already blogged about it here. But I did have enough time to squeeze in a quick rogue recipe, the Banana Pecan Piloncillo Ice Cream from Baked: New Frontiers.

This is a very easy ice cream recipe -- you don't even need to make a custard. You do need to get some piloncillo, which is unrefined sugar made by boiling and evaporating cane juice. I picked up a disc of panela (the Colombian name) from Rodman's and used a vegetable peeler to grate it.

The night before making the ice cream, I peeled some ripe bananas, wrapped them in foil, and stuck them in the freezer. The following day, I simmered a cinnamon stick in a little bit of water and then added grated piloncillo and stirred until the sugar had dissolved. I removed the cinnamon stick and poured the cooled piloncillo syrup, chopped frozen bananas, and a little heavy cream into the blender. I instantly got soft serve ice cream -- that's what happens when you blend frozen fruit with some liquid in a Vitamix. Still, I put the mixture into an ice cream maker and added some toasted chopped pecans before it was fully frozen.
This ice cream was nice and creamy. I'm glad that that piloncillo gave the ice cream a subtle caramel-y flavor. When I was making the piloncillo syrup it smelled like straight molasses. While I like molasses in a ginger cookie, I was not excited about the prospect of eating banana-molasses ice cream. The cinnamon flavor was also very faint -- adding a little ground cinnamon might have been a lot easier and had a bigger effect. I liked this ice cream a lot but thought that the flavor was too subdued -- even the banana flavor was not as strong as I wanted it to be. I sprinkled a bit of fine salt over my ice cream before eating it and that helped sharpen the flavor a bit -- I think some salt in the batter would help. But I would definitely make this recipe again. It gives you all of the satisfaction of ice cream without any eggs and very little cream.

Recipe: "Banana Pecan Piloncillo Ice Cream" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Rentao Poliafito.

Previous Post: "My Cake Has a New Set of Clothes: Grasshopper Cake," January 24, 2012.