ValenQue: Date Night For The Smoking Chef

Grilled banana split sundae 2 - ValenQue: Date Night For The Smoking Chef

By: Joshua Rooks

Make every date night a memorable one.

Smoked Banana Ice Cream Topped With Smoked Walnut Dust Recipe

Buckle up friends, have I got a treat for you! I’m very excited to deliver a great dish to everyone today. If you’ve got a smoker, and a particularly sweet significant other that you’d just love to wow, then this recipe will certainly give you some major romantic clout.

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What we’ll need:

2-4 bananas. If you want more banana flavor, use more bananas and vice versa. Also, I use bananas that were ripe, but not very brown (a handful of dark spots).
2.5 cups of cream (I like creamy ice cream)
2 cups of whole milk (any milk will suffice, but whole gives it extra flavor and personally desired fat content)
2 cups of walnuts, pre-shelled (1 cup for the dusting, the other to eat while you make the ice cream)
OPTIONAL: 1/8th cup of fine raw sugar
OPTIONAL: 1/8th cup of brown sugar
OPTIONAL: 1 tsp of vanilla extract (I left this out in my own recipe due to personal preference)

An important word: I rely mainly on the natural sweetness of the bananas instead of large amounts of sugar to make this dish work. If you like a very sweet ice cream, feel free to add up to ¾ cups of COMBINED sugar. I personally feel any more than ¾ cups would be too much but it’s to your preference.

The prep

Start by smoking the walnuts. Preheat your smoker to 215 degrees using a hardwood for your smoke. Something like oak or hickory will work nicely. Next, make sure you have a large enough pan to allow the walnuts to spread out relatively unobstructed. The more surface area exposed to the smoke, the better. The best way is to place the walnuts in a pan with a perforated bottom where the holes aren’t big enough for the walnuts to fall through.

Smoke the walnuts for about 1.5 hours. This should give them a good smoky flavor, but they won’t be overbearing. Remember, we’re also smoking the bananas, so we don’t want to overdue it.

Once the walnuts have cooled, use a food processor to finely chop and grind them coarsely or into near-dust. This will be the topping of the ice cream.

Going bananas

Next, allow your smoker to cool, remove the hardwood from the walnut smoke, and replace it with a fruit wood or similar mild wood. Apple or maple works very well. Now we’re going to smoke the bananas. However, this is a cold smoke. For this recipe, we never want our temperature to get above 100 degrees. I would hover around the 85-degree mark if possible.

Once you’ve gotten the smoker to the correct temperature, split the bananas length wise in half, and place the peel side down on the rack. I suggest removing the rack beforehand so that you can place the banana on the rack, and simply place the rack back into the smoker. If you’re not using racks, you can place them on a tray (preferably perforated), then place them in the smoker.

Smoke the bananas for no more than 30 minutes. Once done, remove the bananas from the smoker, use a spoon to gently remove the bananas from the peel, and cut them into 1-inch long pieces. Let them cool for about 10 minutes.

Next, use a food processor large enough to hold 4.5 cups of liquid and up to 4 bananas. I suggest adding the bananas first with a half a cup of cream, mix this together for about 30 seconds, then follow with the rest of the wet ingredients. Finally, add the sugar/vanilla if you desire. Mix this until it is completely blended, with few, if any chunks. Now it’s time to put the mixture in the freezer.

Make sure you have a sealable container large enough to hold the entire mixture (or at least as much as you want to turn to ice cream). Then, place the container into your freezer 16-24 hours. I err on the side of caution and usually shoot for 24 hours. When you remove the ice cream the next day, you’ll notice it’s frozen solid. This is because it doesn’t have any “antifreeze” preservatives in it. Simply let the container stand on the counter for 10-15 minutes to allow it to soften.

Once it’s soft, use your ice cream scooper and a nice bowl to plate the ice cream. Top it with the smoked walnuts, and you’ve got a treat fit for a pitmaster!

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Final thoughts

I hoped this helped someone on their quest for the perfect Date Night treat. As always, my goal is to inform, illuminate, and in spire. If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it on social media with your family and friends. Have a great day and happy smoking!

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