We've Got the Scoop on Ice Cream!

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Girl holding three chocolate and strawberry ice cream cones.

The summer is not over yet, and to prove it, we’re talking all about ice cream! We’ll look into the history of the beloved frozen treat, as well as the many variations on flavor, sweetness and texture that have developed over the years. We’ll also find out how to make ice cream (with and without dairy) and the science behind the perfect scoop from Laura O’Neill, Co-Founder Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, based in Greenpoint, and Ben Van Leeuwen, Co-Founder. They’re the co-authors of the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream cookbook. 

Do you have questions about ice cream? Write in the comments section below, write to us on Twitter or Facebook, or call us at 212-433-9692. 


Roasted Banana Ice Cream

(Reprinted with permission from Van Leeuwen's Artisan Ice Creampublished by Ecco Books, 2015.) 

Believe it or not, even people who say they don’t like bananas love this ice cream—it tastes just like banana bread pudding. We roast the bananas with dark brown sugar and butter until they are golden and caramelized, and then we fold them into our ice cream base. The ice cream that comes out is elegant and luscious, rich with caramelized bananas, and is one of our favorite winter flavors to make. The roasting of the bananas gives the ice cream such a creamy, almost burnt-caramel flavor; we can’t think of a better way to round out a Christmas dinner.


Immersion blender

4 medium bananas, preferably somewhat speckled but not brown, peeled and cut into
1/4 inch thick slices
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (14 grams) dark brown sugar
Pinch of kosher salt

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt
6 large egg yolks

1. To make the roasted bananas, preheat the oven to 400˚F; position the rack in the middle. Line a shallow baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, toss the bananas, butter, sugar, and salt. Spread the ingredients on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until caramelized. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

3. To make the roasted banana ice cream, pour the cream and milk into a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk in 1⁄2 cup (100 grams) of the sugar and the salt and stir until they have dissolved. Warm the mixture until you see steam rising from the top.

4. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set another bowl over it. Set aside.

5. In a medium bowl, with a kitchen towel underneath it to prevent slipping, whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining 1⁄4 cup (50 grams) sugar until uniform. While whisking, add a splash of the hot dairy mixture to the yolks. Continue to add the dairy mixture, whisking it in bit by bit, until you’ve added about half. Add the yolk mixture to the remaining dairy mixture in the double boiler. Set the heat under the double boiler to medium and cook the custard, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon and reducing the heat to medium-low as necessary, until steam begins to rise from the surface and the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Hold the spoon horizontally and run your finger through the custard. If the trail left by your finger stays separated, the custard is ready to be cooled.

6. Strain the custard into the bowl sitting over the prepared ice bath and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the custard has cooled. Transfer the custard to a quart-size container and add the roasted bananas. Using an immersion blender, buzz the custard until emulsified. Cover the custard and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.