Thursday, August 16, 2012

Banana Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

Banana Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

I love desserts that look ultra-fancy but are deceptively easy to pull off.   This Banana Caramel Swirl Ice Cream was no harder to pull off than most ice creams, and even the caramel sauce was simple to make.  You just spoon some ice cream straight from the machine into a container, drizzle caramel over it, drag a skewer through the caramel to create the marbled design, then repeat in layers.  There's no technique to wielding the skewer either -- moving the skewer any which way creates gorgeous swirls.

Caramel Sauce
The hot caramel sputters up when cream is added.  Be careful!
The caramel sauce is as simple as cooking sugar, water, and corn syrup together; then adding cream, and stirring in cold butter.  To help avoid crystal formation, which can ruin your whole batch, I cook the caramel with the lid on for the first few minutes -- the steam will build up and run down the sides, washing away any potential crystals.

Banana Caramel Scoop

The ice cream is smooth and creamy, with no iciness.  The flavor is reminiscent of banana bread, and the caramel sauce adds a more complex sweetness.  The chocolate lover in me wants to swirl this with chocolate sauce next time.

Banana-Caramel Ice Cream
From Martha Stewart Living August 2012 Issue

Makes about 1½ quarts

4 large egg yolks
1⅔ cups sugar, divided
1⅔ cups whole milk
1⅔ cups plus ½ cup heavy cream, divided
3 to 4 very overripe bananas (skin should be more brown than yellow), mashed (about 1½ cups)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp salt, divided
¼ cup water
1 tbs light corn syrup
½ stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Whisk together egg yolks and ⅔ cup sugar in a medium bowl until pale yellow and slightly fluffy, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, bring milk and ⅔ cup cream to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, and gradually whisk into egg mixture. Pour mixture into pan, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until thick enough to coat the spatula, about 1 minute (do not let boil). Pour custard into a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water, and let cool, stirring occasionally. Puree bananas with half the custard in a blender (my immersion blender worked great here) until smooth, and transfer to bowl with remaining custard. Stir in vanilla, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 cup cream until combined, and pour through a fine sieve into another bowl. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

Place water, corn syrup, and remaining sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally (do not stir). Raise heat to high, and continue to cook in same manner until mixture turns deep amber, about 9 minutes more. Remove from heat, and slowly pour in remaining cream. Add remaining salt, and simmer caramel 1 minute. Place pan in a bowl of ice water, and let cool until warm but not hot. Remove from ice bath, and whisk in butter, a few pieces at a time, until fully incorporated.

Place a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan (9 cups) in freezer at least 10 minutes. Freeze custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Spread one-third of ice cream in pan, and drizzle with one-third of caramel (it should be fluid but just barely warm; reheat slightly if necessary). Swirl caramel into ice cream with a wooden skewer. Repeat 2 more times until all the ice cream and caramel have been used. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.


  1. Wow, that first image is absolutely gorgeous! I just want to stick my finger in there and taste it. :D Banana and caramel are so great together!

    1. I love the look of swirled toppings! Always wanted to attempt them, and they really are easy. I agree, and I love bananas with chocolate even more.

  2. This looks so decadent! Bananas and caramel on ice is tasty, but imagine it made with the flavors in it? AWESOME!

    1. Thank you! I think I definitely enjoyed having the caramel in it rather than poured on it.

  3. I've never made "Swirl" dessert before - just the gorgeous look of it make me nervous! I heard it's easy to do, but until the day I try I still feel my swirl will look more like my daughter's drawing...or can be worse! Love your ice cream. :) Have a great Labor Day weekend!

    1. I know what you mean! It always sounded easy, but until I tried doing it myself I was nervous about it too. You'll have to try it soon, I promise it will be more beautiful than your daughter's artwork. haha Enjoy your Labor Day!

  4. Hi, in your instruction it says you need an ice cream maker which I don't have. Is there any fool-proof way to make this recipe without an ice cream maker?

  5. Hi, in your instructions it said you need an ice cream maker. Is there a fool proof way to make this recipe without an ice cream maker?

    1. Hi Syifani. I have never tried making ice cream without a machine, but here's an online tutorial for how to do that:

      Follow those instructions until the ice cream mixture is almost completely frozen. Then spread one-third of the ice cream into a new pan, and drizzle it with one-third of the caramel and swirl the caramel with a wooden skewer. Repeat twice, until all the ice cream and caramel have been used up. Wrap it and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

      If you try it this way, please let me know if it works! Good luck.


Thanks for visiting! Feel free to leave some comment love.

Please post any questions in the comments, but if you need to e-mail me I can be reached at secondbreakfastblog at gmail dot com.