August 25, 2012 is National Banana Split Day! Try this not so traditional version by grilling the bananas and serving with homemade ice cream. Just be sure to choose firm-ripe bananas for this dish. The heat of the grill will intensify the bananas’ natural sweetness. Fully ripe and soft bananas won’t hold up to the intense heat of the grill. Enjoy!
Grilled Banana Split with Homemade Ice Cream
Makes 6 servings
- 6 bananas, peeled and cut in half
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 3 cups ice cream: French Vanilla, Dark or White Chocolate, Cherry Vanilla, and/or Praline Ice Cream (recipe to follow)
- 2 cups sauce: Chocolate, Cherry, and/or Butterscotch Sauce (recipe to follow)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
- 1 cup whipped cream
- 6 brandied or maraschino cherries
- Preheat a gas grill to low. If you are using a charcoal grill, build a fire and let it burn down until the coals have a heavy coating of white ash. Spread the coals in an even bed. Clean the cooking grate.
- Brush the bananas with the melted butter and place on the grill. Grill the bananas until lightly marked on the first side, about 1 minute. Turn the bananas carefully and grill on the second side until lightly marked and hot, 1 minute more.
- Place 2 banana halves on each serving plate. Top each serving with 3 small scoops of the ice cream and spoon the sauces over the ice cream. Garnish with the whipped cream, toasted almonds, and cherries.
French Vanilla Ice Cream
This basic ice cream can be flavored to suit your mood or the bounty of the farmer’s market. See the suggestions following this recipe, but don’t limit yourself to what we’ve included here. Try peaches, pistachios, caramel sauce, chocolate chunks, or crushed cookies to create your own specialty of the house.
Makes 4 cups
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 vanilla bean, split, or 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 large egg yolks
- Combine the cream, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt in a heavy-gauge pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. If you are using a split vanilla bean, add it to the cream as it comes to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as it reaches a simmer.
- Blend the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth and light. Ladle about half of the hot milk mixture into the blended yolks, adding it a little at a time and whisking constantly as you work.
- Pour the yolk mixture into the cream and return the pan to low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened enough to cling to the back of the spoon. (Do not bring to a full boil.)
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container set in a bowl of ice water. If using vanilla extract, stir it into the mixture now. Continue to stir until ice cream base has cooled to 70°F. Cover the container, refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
- Set up your ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s directions, add the ice cream base, and freeze until it is very thick but still soft enough to stir.
- Transfer the ice cream to a freezer container and place in the freezer to firm and ripen for at least 4 hours before serving.
Dark or White Chocolate Ice Cream
Add 1 cup of milk to the cream before bringing it to a simmer. Strain the ice cream base over 2/3 cup finely chopped dark or white chocolate, and stir the mixture until the chocolate has melted and is well blended. Place the bowl over an ice bath and stir until cooled properly.
Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream
Omit the vanilla bean. Add 1 1/2 tsp almond extract to the ice cream before you put it in the ice cream freezer. Fold 1 cup pitted sweet or sour cherries into the ice cream when you take it out of the ice cream freezer, before putting it into the before putting it into the freezer to firm and ripen.
Praline Ice Cream
Substitute brown sugar for the granulated sugar. Add 2 tbsp praline paste (available in some specialty shops or through mail-order sources) to the milk and cream as the mixture comes to a simmer. Fold 1 cup coarse-chopped toasted hazelnuts into the ice cream when you take it out of the ice cream freezer, before putting it into the before putting it into the freezer to firm and ripen.