Tag Archives: strawberry

Flavor #16: Roasted Strawberry and Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

25 Oct

Growing up in California where fresh produce is ample. I had always taken for granted the fruits available in the farmers market. Especially strawberries. There is something intoxicating about an entire case of strawberries, with the delicate scent alluring all that pass by the stand. My mom brought my sister and me to the farmers market weekly in Oakland chinatown. As she shopped for the freshest fish and vegetables, my sister and I would greedily find the ladies handing out samples. Especially those of strawberries.

During high school, the first smoothie bar opened up downtown. (Unlike what others believe, smoothie bars didn’t become popular until I was nearly 16). After working on a science project together, my classmate’s mom drove us downtown to the new smoothie bar. Sheltered from mainstream trends, I was surprised by the incredible smoothie now served to the masses. A mixture of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, lemon and bananas. With a drop of yogurt (or some dairy product).

So, on a warm fall day (the summer in San Francisco), Chris asked, “Strawberry banana?”

It was an easy inspiration. (Granted, it had not been the first time he asked for the flavor or the smoothie equivalent.) A combination of sweet and tart.

No such recipe existed quite yet.

In making the ice cream, I adhered to the principles I learned in Ohio. Do it the right way In the recipes that I scoured for on the Internet, they were simple. Just chop up the strawberries and toss in! to Mash up the bananas and mix during churning. There was something missing.

Flavors intensify with a bit of heat…to evaporate the water. With too much water in any mix-in, the mix-in (or fruit for that matter) can taste like a bite of ice inside ice cream. So in an effort to minimize that, I roasted the strawberries and caramelized the bananas.

Pureeing strawberries and bananas

In making the ice cream, I initially started with an egg-based custard but in the process, I turned up the heat too much and the eggs…scrambled. So instead, I went with a cornstarch base, which was easier but also allowed for the fruit flavors to stand on its own than to be masked by eggs.

So more by accident, I let the roasted strawberries and caramelized bananas sit for a few hours. I am almost quite certain that the flavors were more intense as a result.

On taste, it was truly Proustian, yanking me back to the moment that I had a strawberry banana smoothie growing up.

Churning strawberry banana ice cream


For the roasted strawberries

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced into quarters
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice or juice of a half lemon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a glass or ceramic pan (something nonreactive), mix well the strawberries and sugar together. Roast for 8 minutes until soft. Cool. Puree with the lemon juice. Set aside.

For the caramelized bananas

2 ripe bananas, peeled
1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar

In a medium pan, mix the bananas and brown sugar together with a fork until fully mashed. Cook under medium heat for about 4-8 minutes until brown. Cool. Puree. Set aside.

For the ice cream base

4 1/2 cups of whole milk, half & half, heavy cream or combination
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 1/2 tablespoons of the cream, half & half or milk until there are no lumps to create a cornstarch slurry.

In a medium pot over medium heat, mix the remaining cream, half & half, or milk with sugar and salt. When the mixture begins to steam, add the cornstarch slurry. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens or begins to simmer.

Chill at least three hours or overnight in a refrigerator.

To make ice cream

Mix in the strawberry puree and banana puree into the ice cream base. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve plain or with fruit toppings (e.g. banana slices and/or strawberry slices).

Flavor #2: Strawberry Candied Jalapeño Ice Cream

6 Jul

Like many of us, I have an inherent love of strawberries. Particularly the kind that’s bursting with childlike juicy flavor.

A strawberry drink? I am there. A dessert laced with strawberries? Oh yes. A patch of strawberries for the picking? Sorry, it’s going to be gone before you know it.

As for jalapeños? I live in the Mission district in San Francisco—well-known for the ample Mexican taquieras on every corner. But more importantly, the Mexican grocery stores spilling through the streets hawking produce at lower prices than the local Whole Foods. So I have been attracted to the common produce of jalapeño. It added a kick to my chili, soups, casseroles…and various other foods. I have been known to go to a farmer’s market and pick up a single jalapeño. Upon checking out, they would always laugh at me. Just one?? Just take it! was the common response.

So when I first walked into Humphry Slocombe shortly after it opened, this was the flavor I chose. I haven’t seen it on the menu since. So when I first tasted it, it was luscious…expected. Strawberries! But then it had this sudden spicy flavor. It turned into a slow burn that almost curled into a sweet and firey end.

When making this recipe, I was looking for relief from my disaster in eggs in custard. Unlike many chefs and cooks out there, I have this incredible inability to pay attention to the stove. I don’t quite have ADD, but my lack of attention to detail…has led to many a disaster in making custard.

At least a week prior to the idea, I decided to buy jalapeño in bulk. In bulk because at this local asian market, no vegetables are ever sold individually. So I gave 15 to a friend and kept 5 for myself. Always ever resourceful, the idea for strawberry candied jalapeño came just like lightning.


Adapted from Local Milk

For Candied Jalapeño

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 medium jalapeño seeded and sliced

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Stir. Once the sugar has dissolved, toss in the sliced jalapeño. Turn off heat once the contents are boiling. Let sit until room temperature. Set aside until needed.

For the Jalapeño Sugar

1 medium jalapeño seeded and chopped
5 slices candied jalapeño
1/8 cup sugar

In a mini food processor, combine the jalapeño, candied jalapeño and sugar. I added more than 5 slices to give the ice cream more kick. Pulse until finely chopped and mixed. Set aside.

For the Strawberry Purée

(makes about twice as much as you need)
1 pint of strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/8-1/4 cup sugar, depending on your preferred sweetness

In a mini food processor (and I didn’t even clean it out after making the jalapeño sugar), combine the strawberries and sugar. Pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.

For the Base:
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
healthy pinch of cayenne (optional)

In a bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and cayenne until the sugar is dissolved. Chill thoroughly at least 3 hours or overnight. Once chilled, churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Five minutes until the end of churning (or when it looks like it’s almost solid), mix in the jalapeño sugar. Then scoop into an empty container. After every scoop, swirl in the strawberry puree. Let freeze. Serve with the fresh chopped or sliced strawberries.