Banana bread is not the only use for ripe bananas. Consider banana gelato with chocolate chips and pecans. With the right equipment and some secrets, you can come pretty close to the Italian experience of gelato. After much research and much trial and error, I have developed some tips for successful gelato. Please check out this discussion and tips here.
Hopefully following this advice, you will have some great gelato at home to enjoy while you stroll around your own piazza.
Notes on Ingredients
The Bananas, Simple Syrup, and sugar
My banana gelato recipe calls for ripe bananas, simple syrup, and sugar. Bananas that are perhaps a little overripe work best. However, perhaps not as overripe as you would use for banana bread.
Because the sweetness of the bananas may vary, the ripeness may vary and the sizes of the bananas themselves may vary, the quantities of the attached recipe should be considered as a guide as detailed below.
The riper, the sweeter the bananas. If very ripe, reduce the sugar and the simple syrup a bit. If the bananas are very soft (moist) consider making more reduction to the simple syrup than the sugar. You can determine by tasting your unfrozen mixture to determine if you got it right. The gelato frozen will not taste as sweet as unfrozen. Therefore, the unfrozen mixture should taste a bit too sweet.
The recipe calls for two bananas. Of course, they vary in size. Weight ranges for peeled and trimmed bananas are given in the recipe, so adjustments to the other ingredients may be necessary. If the bananas are small, the amount of simple syrup may especially need to be reduced so that the final product is not too watery.
Simple syrup is nothing more than sugar boiled in water. However, the impact of this transformation in gelato is almost magical. This is discussed in greater detail in my overview of gelato, but simply it is replacing large molecules of sugar with smaller ones making for a less icy texture.
Notes on Technique
Ice Cream Maker and Immersion Blender
Please see my discussion on equipment for making gelato. In particular, you want a maker with a gelato setting that will more slowly churn the mixture. This ensures there is less air in the final product producing the desired texture.
Lastly, an immersion blender is super useful tool for completely mixing the bananas, sugar and liquids.
Gelato is best when enjoyed fresh. It allows for the use of fresh fruit and other ingredients. Therefore, it is not intended for long term storage. Furthermore, I have found that completely filling multiple pint containers (as opposed to one large container) increases storage time.
Even under the best of storage, after a couple of days, the gelato will become icier. Still tasty yes, but not quite as good of texture.
- 2 bananas (250-280g)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup (roughly 120 ml) simple syrup (see note 1)
- ⅜ cup (roughly 80g) sugar (see note 2)
- ½ cup (80g) Chocolate Chips (smaller variety)
- ½ cup (80g) Chopped pecans, lightly toasted and salted
- Peel the banana and roughly chop. Add to a large beaker or bowl. Toss with lemon juice to preserve color.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the beaker (or bowl). Purée with an immersion blender to thoroughly mix the banana, liquid ingredients and dissolve sugar.
- Chill in ice cream maker following the unit's instructions.
- While gelato is chilling, lightly salt the pecans, then lightly toast pecans. When done chop into small pieces.
- A minute or two before the gelato is finished add the pecans and chocolate chips. Work in batches so the chips and nuts are evenly spread in the gelato.
- Place the chilled gelato in a tub or one-pint containers. Chill overnight.
Note 1: The amount of simple syrup should be adjusted to account for the ripeness (sweetness) and the size of the bananas. Adjust the amount down if overripe or smaller, up if not.
Note 2: Adjust sugar for the ripeness and size of the bananas as you do for the simple syrup. You can adjust different amounts of syrup or sugar based on the moisture content of the bananas. The solidity and texture of the gelato will be impacted. (See the full discussion in the recipe description.)
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 104Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 20mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g
Calculated Nutrition is estimated.