Friday, August 6, 2010

Ice Cream Fridays: Banana Cajeta Cashew Gelato

Welcome to another edition of Ice Cream Fridays. Every Friday you can look forward to a new ice cream recipe which will hopefully inspire you to break out your old dust covered ice cream maker that is hiding somewhere in a closet (yes, I'm talking about you). Since I'm always looking for inspiration and ideas, feel free to leave me a comment here on my blog or on my facebook page, and let me know what ice cream flavor you would like to see. Who knows, you might just get lucky and it will be featured the following week.

Sometimes my friends get a kick out of supplying me with an ingredient and letting me "loose" in the kitchen to come up with a dish. This is how today's ice cream flavor came about. My friend Laura supplied me graciously with some Cajeta. Cajeta is sweetened goat's milk that is cooked until thick and dark in color, like Dulce de Leche, it is also very popular in Mexico. It is quite delicious by itself drizzled over the top of plain vanilla ice cream, but I knew I wanted to find something that really integrated the flavor.

This is where one of my ice cream books came to play. While my daughter was flipping through the pages one day she got very excited when she came across this Banana Cajeta Cashew Gelato. She showed it to me, thinking it would certainly fit the bill for working the ingredient into a great dessert. Boy, was she right. What made this even better was the cashews which I had received from Oh!Nuts. All I needed to do was make the ice cream base. I still had some ripe bananas left over from my banana cake so I was covered.  The ice cream starts by making a plain vanilla base. After chilling it thoroughly, ripe bananas are blended with half of the mixture until smooth before mixing it with the rest of the base. The mix is then frozen in your ice cream maker, and finally towards the end, chopped cashews are added to the Gelato. Upon layering the finished mix in your freezer bowl, cajeta is drizzled over the top and then quickly swirled in before freezing.

This was a very different but wonderful flavor combination. The kids didn't care for the cajeta by itself, but once integrated into the ice cream they went crazy for it. I'm really glad my friend introduced me to an unknown product which I ended up liking a lot. In case you can't find cajeta readily available, I'm including a recipe on how to make it yourself. However, if the thought of goat milk caramel is just a bit too exotic for you, the cajeta can be simply replaced with Dulce de Leche and you will still be left with a delicious ice cream.

Banana Cajeta Cashew Gelato
(adapted from Ciao Bella)
(Printable Recipe)


Plain Base (recipe to follow)
2 ripe bananas, chilled
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted salted cashews
1/2 cup Cajeta, slightly warmed (recipe to follow)


Make the Plain Base and chill as directed.

Place the bananas, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender and add half of the base. Blend until smooth, then whisk into the remaining base.  Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the cashews 5 minutes before the churning is completed.

Just after churning, drizzle the cajeta over the top and quickly and lightly swirl in a zigzag pattern with a spoon or butter knife.

Plain Base

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar

In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Place over medium low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn't form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185 degrees F. Do not bring to a boil.

Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. to cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir the custard until cooled. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

(makes about 3 cups)

2 cups goat's milk
2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the dissolved baking soda. When the bubbling stops, return the pan to the heat, bring back to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, for 1 hour, or until the mixture starts to thicken and turn golden. At this point the cajeta will start to thicken fast, so don't leave the pan unattended. Continue to cook stirring constantly so it doesn't burn or stick to the bottom of the pan, for another 20 minutes, or until the cajeta is a  rich brown color and thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. It should cool to a medium- thick caramel consistency. If it's too thick, add a samll amount of water; if ti's too think continue to cook until thickened.

Transfer to a container, let cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Warm slightly before serving. It will keep for about 1 month in the refrigerator.


  1. I was looking forward to seeing what ice cream you would come up with this week. The combination of bananas and cashews sounds yummy already, then the addition of the cajeta really perfects it.

    1. Enjoyed every bit of your blog.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.
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  2. I have never heard of cajeta until now. Thanks for introducing me to something new! I'd love to try it, but I have no idea where I would get goat milk. I plan to own goats someday, though, so I'll hold onto this one for a few years I guess.

  3. I look forward to visiting you on Friday. You always have a treat in store for us. This sounds really wonderful. The combination of banana and nuts is one I haven't tried and you've made me curious. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  4. I drink goat milk all the time. It is so good. I have never heard of Cajeta before but it sounds very delicious. Great idea to integrate it in this ice cream. Danke, Susi.
    Vielleicht koennte man ja auch fuer die Ice Cream Base Goat Milch verwenden. Hast Du das schon mal probiert?

  5. Kirsten - I don't see why you couldn't make the base with goat milk. One of my friends only eats goats milk ice cream that she buys. I haven't tried it myself but I think it would be just as good :o)

  6. Another fantastic Friday, Susi. The flavor combo here sounds irresistible. Beautiful gelato!

  7. You introduced me to something new! I love dulce de leche so I'm pretty sure I would love the cajeta. The ice cream looks just heavenly! Your family really must be enjoying all these different flavors. The bowl is cute too.

  8. I have never heard of Cajeta, but your gelato looks amazing. I may dust that ice cream maker off yet! I doubt I can find Cajeta, but I know I can get Dulce de Leche. Thanks!

  9. Love Fridays over here :) This looks delicious! I'm a huge fan of bananas anywhere lately, and definitely in my ice cream :)

  10. Oh. My. Goodness! Think I might need to pop over to yours next Friday if ice cream is going to be on the menu. Looks great and sounds like just my kind of ice cream.

  11. WOW... great recipe and beautiful presentation.

  12. You are getting so creative with flavors. I'm loving your Friday posts.

  13. Banana ice cream has been one of my favorites this summer and I really enjoyed seeing the cajeta used in an ice cream base. Looks delicious!

  14. I almost got cashews from Oh! Nuts as well. I agree. Their products are so good!

  15. Hi.. i am from sri lanka and i dont think we have goat milk it possible for me to use a substitute? please i would really like to try it out.

  16. just found out we have goats milk here lol am soo excited.

  17. You have discussed an interesting topic that everybody should know. Very well explained with examples. I have found a similar website <""> Pure Gelato Sydney visit the site to know more about pure gelato.


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