Monday, September 6, 2010

Cinnamon Gelato + Bananas + Caramel = Bananas Foster Sundae

I have a confession to make. I've been sadly neglecting an old friend, my Cuisinart ice cream maker,  this summer. It was a busy summer for us, so it sat under the cabinet, toward the back..."out of sight, out of mind."  Several of my food blog friends have been posting about their homemade ice cream adventures recently, so I decided to blow the dust off the ice cream maker and make some ice cream to celebrate the long holiday weekend. But what kind? The possibilities seemed endless...

New Orleans is a city that holds many special memories for Michael and I. He proposed to me in New Orleans, and we went back and spent our honeymoon there as well. One of our favorite things to do there is eat, and one of our favorite desserts is Bananas Foster.  Bananas, brown sugar, cinnamon, rum, and vanilla ice cream. Really, what's not to love? This picture was taken when we went to Easter brunch at Brennan's in Houston, one of our favorite restaurants. I decided that I wanted to make a Bananas Foster Sundae, so my first decision was to make cinnamon gelato as my base flavor. I stumbled across a great recipe online from The Washington Post and tweaked it a bit to up the cinnamon flavor. I found some amazing high-oil Vietnamese cinnamon in the bulk section at Central Market and knew it would give my gelato a fantastic cinnamon taste and aroma!

Next was to figure out a way to get the caramel flavor that happens when you flame brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon with rum. One of the food blogs I love to read is Jacob's Kitchen ( His blog is really great, so check it out!! Last week, he featured a recipe for a FANTASTIC salted vanilla caramel sauce, so I decided to make that the next key component of my sundae. I wish I could say that my caramel turned out the same deep-bronze color as Jacob's, but mine never got past the butterscotch-looking stage. However, it still tasted AMAZING. It  worked out fine in my sundaes despite being a bit on the pale side ;)!

Here's the recipe...hope you enjoy it!

Bananas Foster Sundaes

Step 1:  Make the cinnamon gelato. 

1.  Combine 1 cup milk, 1 cup heavy cream, and 4 cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble around the edges (about 10 minutes). 

Cover, remove from heat, and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. Discard the cinnamon sticks after the 30 minutes is up.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 5 large egg yolks, 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tbs. ground cinnamon, 1 tbs. vanilla extract, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Beat on medium speed for about 4 minutes. The mixture should be thick and a pale brown color.

3. With the mixer on medium-low, add the milk mixture to the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream. Transfer the custard back to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly.

You'll know the custard is cooked enough when a finger run across the back of a spoon leaves a definite line like this:

4.  Pour the custard into a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours so the custard can chill thoroughly. You can refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

5. After the custard is chilled, freeze it according to your ice cream maker's directions. This recipe makes 1 quart of gelato. When my Cuisinart ice cream maker had been mixing the gelato for 30 minutes, it was the consistency of soft serve:

6.  If you want your gelato to be firmer, just do what I did: scoop it into a plastic container and let it sit i the freezer for a few hours. By the time I was ready to assemble the sundaes last night, it was perfectly scoopable!

Step 2: Make the caramel.

Here's the link to Jacob's luscious salted vanilla caramel sauce:

Don't be intimidated. It only has a few ingredients: water, sugar, cream, vanilla, and salt. It's really simple to whip up, and it tastes divine. If you don't want to make your own caramel sauce, then you can buy a good-quality jarred sauce at the store. It won't taste exactly the same, but it'll work ok if you're pressed for time.

Step 3: Assemble the sundaes.

When you're ready to serve the sundaes, get your ingredients together so you can work quickly, before the gelato begins to melt. Layer some gelato, some of the caramel, and some sliced bananas. Repeat the layers, ending with caramel sauce on top. Sprinkle with some of the chopped candied pecans and serve!

The salted caramel paired really well with the sweet cinnamon gelato, but neither flavor overpowered the bananas. It tasted very much like actual Bananas Foster that we've had in restaurants. If the sundae doesn't sound like your thing, the cinnamon gelato tastes wonderful on its own. It was creamy and had a very pronounced cinnamon taste. It would also be great with apple pie or any fall-themed baking you plan to do.


  1. There are so many things that I love about this post, where to start? First of all, you had me at "cinnamon gelato". I was already about to start drooling. Second of all, I have that ice cream maker! Isn't it fantastic? It makes the whole process so much easier.

    Oh, and that cinnamon gelato with the Bananas Foster? Incredible!

  2. It's pretty sweet, but a girl needs a little splurge now and then, yes?

  3. I love bananas foster! This looks fantastic!

  4. (blush) Looks great! What a great use for this caramel sauce. =) Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Jacob: I only made a half batch, and we still have a small bowl of it in the fridge. Need to figure out a few more uses for it ;)!

  6. Wow! Yum! I really need an Ice cream maker.

  7. The Cuisinart one is freeze the cannister for a day or two before you're wanting to use it. The ice cream/gelato normally looks like soft serve for me, so I end up freezing it for an extra hour or two to let it firm up. I really should have used mine more...lucky me that warm temps are here in Texas for a few more weeks ;)!

  8. This sounds absolutely amazing. I cannot think of a better recipe to break out your ice cream maker for!


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