Many years ago when I was a student, I was lucky enough to win a travel scholarship to attend a conference in San Diego in the US. Before flying out on our return to Australia, my travelling companion and I had a couple of days in San Francisco; a beautiful city full of eucalyptus trees and budgies and a climate remarkably like Sydney’s. On our ‘must do’ list was a trip to the district of Haight-Ashbury where our excessive second-hand clothes purchases meant off-loading important conference material to meet our luggage limits (had to get rid of the US currency you see….).
Among the faded and dreadlocked remnants of the age of flower-power was the iconic Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop – in a prime location on the intersection of Haight and Ashbury streets. This was well before Ben and Jerry opened outlets in Australia, and even more well before their amazing flavours were available here at most supermarkets…
My first (and only) true love is Chunky Monkey. To be honest, I have only tried one or two other flavours (when there was no Chunky Monkey to be had), but I would always end up thinking that it was not quite as good as Chunky Monkey. Perhaps because nothing else took me back to those carefree student days, when buying a second-hand genuine ex-army black trench coat, complete with authentic holes was the height of student fashion (it wasn’t…).
I reckon this is a pretty good knock-off of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream. Best of all, it’s no churn, so you don’t need an ice cream maker to recreate this little piece of heaven. It’s not entirely ‘pure’, as I used banana-flavoured Nesquik (which I don’t believe has any real banana in it) to get the sweet, heady banana-ry smell and flavour. As frozen food tends to dull the taste buds, it helps to dial up the flavours with ice cream. You could definitely play with the amounts of walnut, dried banana and chocolate pieces. I kept the amounts low-ish (less than 10% total weight/volume), as I prefer to taste cream in ice cream, rather than feeling like I am just eating frozen chunks of stuff. I used dried banana bits for extra texture, as the banana flavour came from the Nesquik. You could use real bananas, but I’d suggest using a lot more to get a decent banana flavour.
Homage to Chunky Monkey - no churn ice cream
Makes approximately 1500 ml
For the custard
- 80 g caster sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 50 ml 35% fat cream
- 150 ml regular milk
- 3 tsp banana-flavoured Nesquik (approx 8 g)
For the rest
- 100 g chocolate, roughly chopped (I used a mixture of dark and milk chocolate)
- 65 g walnuts, lightly toasted, then roughly chopped
- 30 g dried banana chips, roughly chopped
- 85 g caster sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 250 ml 35% fat cream, whipped until thickened and soft peaks form
- To make the custard, whisk egg yolks and 80 g sugar in a heat-proof bowl until pale and slightly thickened.
- Heat 150 ml milk and 50 ml cream in a heavy-based pot on a medium heat until steaming, then stir in banana-flavoured Nesquik (do not let it boil).
- Pour the heated milk/cream mix over the egg yolks/sugar mixture in the bowl, continuing to whisk until everything is incorporated.
- Pour contents of bowl back into the pot and return to stove top, stirring constantly, until cooked and custard is thickened. Do not let this boil, or else it will curdle.
- Remove from heat and using a sieve, strain the custard into a clean bowl that is sitting in an ice-water bath and stir until tepid.
- Cover and chill in refrigerator for about half an hour.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then slowly add 85 g caster sugar and continue to whisk until you have a thick and glossy meringue.
- To finish the ice cream, remove chilled custard from refrigerator and mix in the whipped cream. Fold in the chocolate, banana chips and walnuts.
- Gently fold the meringue into the cooled custard until there are no streaks of white.
- Dispense into freezer-suitable containers and freeze for at least four hours (preferably overnight) before serving