Roasted & Toasted: A Banana & Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

Inspiration arrives via many avenues but the sweetest, most satisfying are born of fond childhood memories. My dad worked the restaurant business all his life. He never worked in a “Greek” restaurant per se but one knew a Greek was in the kitchen or the owners were Greek with one look at the menu.

Souvlaki is an easy giveaway, Spanakopita, Avgolemono Soup, rice pudding or a Baklava. A recurring conversation I have with family & friends is that you just don’t get the same quality of food at diners, restaurants & eateries of yesteryear. Back then, the chef/cook would arrive real early in the morning and prepare the day’s specials, prep for the breakfast rush, whip up salad dressings, soups of the day,  sauces/gravies and the topic of today’s post: desserts.

Back when I was a kid (70’s), one would go to a diner or restaurant and you would be able to choose from the the array of house-made pies (and other desserts). Two of my favourite pies were the banana cream pie and the coconut cream pie. I would stare at the revolving display of cakes and pies thinking, “which one will I order today”? I don’t go out to eat as much and when I do I’m usually disappointed with the quality of the food or I feel I didn’t get good value for my money.

This is due in part to many factors: we are more sophisticated/more demanding palates, we can and do cook more at home (we’ve been empowered in the kitchens) and sadly, even independently-owned eateries have gone corporate i.e. taking short-cuts. Here’s what happens to a restaurant: a sales rep. from a large food distributor pays the eatery a visit, asks to see the owner(s) and they go through the menu, prices, issues the restaurant may have.

The “kind” sales rep. has a real solutions for “George Restaurant”: that soup of the day? Just buy the frozen block of soup, place it in one of those black crock-pots and turn-on in the morning…soup’s ready by lunch time. Got lasagna on the menu? No problem – just buy the frozen lasagna and throw it in the oven…you now have your special of the day covered. Pies? Salad dressings? We have all those made at our commissary. See what’s happening?

The temptation to cut labour costs is too great for many restaurateurs to resist. Instead of hiring talent kitchen staff who will prepare EVERYTHING on the menu from scratch, high-school students or unskilled labour are hired and asked to simply follow cooking instructions on a frozen pre-made food item. Is it any wonder more of us are cooking and eating at home?

This also why I decided to finally splurge on an ice cream maker last year: so I could capture those flavours I remembered as a child and make ice cream (cook food at home the way I like it) the way I remembered it to taste. Back to those banana cream pie and coconut cream pies I miss at my Dad’s (and many uncles’ restaurants)…the inspiration for today’s ice cream.

I used to alternate ordering banana and coconut cream pies and the inspiration for this ice cream combines the flavours of both these diner favourites. This ice cream recipe pairs roasted bananas with toasted coconut and the ice cream base contains no eggs or heavy cream (no custard base). Instead, the concentrated flavours of roasted banana and toasted coconut are accentuated with the addition of coconut milk (found in the international aisle of your supermarket and at Asian stores) and sweetened with a can of condensed milk. I took direction from the “ice cream man” himself, David Lebovitz and his recipe gave me the confidence to go forth with this natural pairing….banana and coconut.

The crowning glory of this ice cream is when I emptied the churned ice cream into a tub and topped it with some reserved toasted coconut. Kinda’ looks like the ice cream one would see at an old-time ice cream parlour, eh?

Roasted & Toasted Banana & Coconut Ice Cream

3-4 very ripe bananas, cut into 1 inch slices

1 Tbsp. butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup shredded coconut

For the base

1 can of coconut milk (400 ml)

1 can of condensed milk (300ml)

1 cup of whole (homo.) milk

3/4 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. of vanilla extract

1 shot of banana liqueur

Equipment: Ice-cream maker

  1. Place your chopped bananas in a small baking/roasting pan and add the butter and sprinkle the brown sugar over them. Toss with a spoon to incorporate and cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated 400F oven for 30 minutes or until bananas are softened an a light brown colour. Remove from the oven, puree with a blender and set aside.
  2. In the meantime, place your shredded coconut in a skillet over medium heat and continuous move the pan as your coconut is toasting. As soon as your coconut reaches a golden colour, remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
  3. In another bowl, add the condensed milk, whole milk and coconut milk along with the salt and vanilla extract. Mix with a wire whisk until incorporated and smooth and place in your fridge to chill for at least 3 hours.
  4. Assuming that your freezer bowl is already frozen, empty the bowl with your chilled milk/ice cream base into the ice cream maker and churn. Add the pureed banana into the milk mixture and continue operating your ice cream maker for 25 minutes. At this point add a 1/4 cup of the toasted coconut and pour in the banana liqueur and churn for 5 more minutes.
  5. Empty the ice cream mixture into a tub and smooth-over the top and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of toasted coconut over the ice cream.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at  http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

© 2011,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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23 Comments for “Roasted & Toasted: A Banana & Coconut Ice Cream Recipe”

says:

Mmmmmm mmmm Peter, I love anything coconut .. banana not so much, but I can easily ex out the nanners here :-) Don’t you just love your ice cream machine? From the pics it looks like we may have the same one. High. Five.

says:

Peter, I couldn’t agree with you more! Eating out has become a very expensive and often disappointing “sport” and I hate to admit that I have also cut down on my restaurant visits, unless I have a good tip from someone I trust. I have bookmarked this recipe to make soon. It is just too good to miss and so easy too! I have actually never tried the banana-coconut combo. Sounds like a winner.

says:

Wow!!!!
Peter τι εξαιρετικό είναι αυτό που βλέπουν τα ματάκια μου???
Σούπερ!!!!
Πολλά φιλιά, καλό μήνα!

says:

*sigh* You are so right. Even at non-fast-food places. There is a bar and grill that went into my neighborhood last year that I won’t go into for many reasons, but one big reason is the one I see every morning. The SYSCO truck is there without fail. What would be the point of eating out?

I’m not sure if I could ever choose between banana and coconut cream pie. You had the right idea to alternate. Either option is rarely a fail. I remember one of the first pies I ever baked from scratch was a banana and coconut cream pie (bananas on the bottom and coconut in the custar).

The ice cream is a great idea for combining two loves. I would love some right now – snow and ice and cold be damned!

says:

One word in reply to this post: AMEN!
I hardly ever go out to eat, because the food is,like you say, processed; having worked in commercial kitchens, I can vouch that what you say is 100% true! NOBODY wants to go the slow-food way in commercial settings. Owners are afraid they would lose their clientele, and so they serve substandard already processed food that people eat, because it is cheap. Voilà!
That ice-cream sounds and looks jolly good, by the way.

says:

Great post Peter. I get sad when I work with some caterers and restos and see what going on behind the scenes. Its all about time and money, so shortcuts are taken. I would rather the old school approach and be able to serve my food with pride.
I used to love going to those type of diners and reveled in the desserts too. Sigh…

says:

That’s why we now go to restaurants that specialize in farm to table. I want food from a chef who makes everything from scratch! Anyway, that ice cream sounds like a spectacular flavor!

says:

Couldn’t agree more with your views on what’s happening in so many restaurants. No wonder the home cooking standards are rising & what a great thing that is too.
Speaking from a chefs point of view., nothing is sadder when your working at a great restaurant, the owner sells out to a corporate style owner & they start playing around with the menu – the punters leave in droves followed quickly by the chefs.
Love your banana & coconut combo, brilliant. We’re in the grip of a heatwave down here in Oz at the moment & our ice cream maker has been working a bit overtime.
Great to connect with you, look forward to reading more.

says:

You’re so right about eating out and how it’s so often disappointing. But this ice cream on the other hand – well, it stirs me into thinking summer is here. What a delicious mixture of flavors.

says:

I totally agree with what you are saying about the quality of food. We don’t got out as much to eat because we enjoy making food at home much more, it tastes better and you aren’t slapped with a high food bill, in comparison to the quality of the food afterwards.

says:

Coconut cream pie has always been a favorite of mine, too, Peter. This ice cream looks so delicious – I am loving all your ice cream posts.

says:

LOL! You described me when I was a kid going to the local diner for dinner – standing and staring at the pies rotating in the glass cake and trying to decide which one I’d have. Well, to tell you the truth I still do that when I’m in Florida. Your desserts never cease to amaze me in their simplicity yet their utter creativity. And all the best flavors! Yum! Fab dessert!

BTW here in France it is a huge problem the cost-cutting in restaurants and the bed rep many now have. They all say: in that kitchen is a chef and a pair of scissors.