In the category of favorite suggestions ever made to me, I place the following:
“You should always eat what your body is craving, because the body craves what the body needs. Your body is never wrong.”
Love it. Love it. Love it.
I wield this powerful tool like a ninja. A samurai. A sword-bearing, armor-plated, enabling Knight of the Round (and copiously overflowing) Table.
I use my sword to justify the eating of bacon (My body is craving bacon! It must need salt and pork products!), the drinking of chocolate milk (My body is craving chocolate milk! It must need artificially sweetened dairy-based beverages!), and the snacking of M&M’s (My body is craving M&M’s! It must need some chocolate that will melt in my mouth and not in my hands!)
So, you know, when I started craving an ice cream sundae like nobody’s business the other day, I knew that this was an urge that I needed to satisfy: I’m clearly suffering from some sort of ice cream sundae deficiency.
Sometimes the best things come from an acute need and the lack of tools to satisfy it: I searched my fridge and pantry high and low and I was missing the conventional components of plain vanilla ice cream, chocolatey syrup, and sprinkley sprinkle toppings. Really?!? Problems.
But I couldn’t give up! I couldn’t let my body down! I couldn’t ignore this severe case of Sundae Deprivation. No!
Which is how we find ourselves at the birth of this righteous ice cream happening.
I mean, it’s all in the name of taking care of myself, right? We’ve got some Cajeta Ice Cream, some Agave Maple Bacon Syrup, and a sprinkling of homemade Banana Chips. I feel healthier already!
And I’m so happy that I received that wonderful advice to always listen my cravings. Cravings like this can do a body good.
Cajeta Ice Cream Sundae With Agave Maple Bacon Syrup & Banana Chips
For the ice cream:
3 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. whole milk
3/4 c. white sugar, granulated
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cajeta (Cajeta is a Mexican caramel sauce made from goat’s milk. You can find a recipe for cajeta here. While cajeta has a unique taste that makes this ice cream particularly special, any other caramel sauce may be substituted.)
For the syrup:
1/3 c. raw blue agave nectar
1/3 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. bacon fat (I recommend clarifying your bacon before adding it to the syrup by heating and then running it through a fine mesh sieve.)
For the banana chips:
2 bananas, peeled, sliced horizontally into 1/4″ thick pieces
1/2 c. vegetable or canola oil
Chef’s Note: You will need an ice cream maker to make this ice cream. I used the ice cream attachment to my standard KitchenAid mixer. This attachment has a two-quart capacity and it was filled to the brim once the ice cream was completed.
To prepare the ice cream, bring the heavy cream, milk, sugar and salt to a boil in a large sauce pan. Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and, once the cream mixture is boiling, whisk half of it into the yolks. Adjust the temperature under the remaining cream mixture down to low, whisk in the cream and yolks, and continue to cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, approximately 5 more minutes. Remove the cooked mixture from heat and pass it through a fine mesh sieve. Set the custard aside in the freezer to chill.
Once your custard has chilled through, put it into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. My KitchenAid attachment required a churn time of 20-30 minutes and produced a soft serve-style ice cream. Note that the point at which you choose to add your cajeta will affect the nature of your finished ice cream. For example, I opted to add it at the beginning of the churning process because I wanted the entire ice cream to have a caramel flavor. If I had added it at the end of the process, the cajeta would likely have been frozen into solid threads throughout the ice cream. Once fully churned, remove the ice cream and freeze overnight before serving.
To prepare the syrup, place all of the ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, reduce the temperature down to low and serve. Note that I recommend giving this syrup a quick stir with a fork or small whisk if it sits awhile before serving.
To prepare the banana chips, heat the oil over a medium flame in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. The chips take several minutes to cook through – it is extremely important not to slice the bananas too thick and not to give in to the temptation to adjust the temperature of the oil up too high. The oil should be hot enough that the banana pieces immediately begin to bubble when placed in the oil, but not so hot that the oil is smoking. Keep your oil at medium-high, test the temperature with a small piece of banana, and watch the chips closely as they fry. After about 3 minutes the chips will start to become slightly translucent, at which point you can carefully flip them and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Finished chips will be dark golden brown at the edges - remove to a paper towel to drain but don’t leave them on the towel for too long or they’ll stick; place the chips on a cooling rack or piece of parchment paper after about one minute of draining.
Assembling your sundae is the business of simply scooping the ice cream, pouring the syrup, and topping with banana chips.
YIELD: This recipe yields approximately 2 quarts of ice cream, 3/4 cup of syrup, and 1 – 1 1/2 cups of banana chips.