Date: May 30, 2020 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
Homemade ice cream is a staple of summertime get-togethers. Here, our editor shares the story behind her family’s tropical take on the chilly treat
My earliest memories of homemade ice cream involve my family gathered on the back porch of my childhood home, my grandfather feeding the ice-cream maker ice and salt, then more ice and salt, until the sugary base finally hardened. He had two very eager and sweet-toothed little girls waiting and watching over him; I’m sure my sister and I asked more than once when it would finally be ready to eat. Decades later, after trying my hand at the family recipe for the first time, I learned why the task requires some level of patience—even for adults.
With bananas, lemons, and oranges in the mix, the treat has a decidedly tropical taste, and I wasn’t sure how or why our Texan side of the family started making it. So I called my grandmother, Josie Gray (known by her grandchildren as “Neena”), to find out. As it turns out, we have my great aunt and great uncle, Mary Dee and Oren Soules, to thank for what has become a tradition in our branch of the family tree. My mother’s aunt and uncle loved to travel, and on one of their visits to somewhere beachy (like much of family lore, details on the exact location are fuzzy) they’d become enthralled with a certain ice cream flavor. “Your Uncle Oren could finagle anything out of anybody,” Neena laughed as she relayed the story to me. “They loved that ice cream, so they asked for the recipe.”
While some effort goes into juicing the citrus and keeping an eye on the maker as it churns, it’s worth it for the end result. “We’ve been using that recipe for about 45 years now,” Neena said. “After you make it, you’ll see why we save it for special occasions.”
Aunt Mary Dee’s Ice Cream
4 ripe bananas
3 cups sugar
4 oranges, juiced (about 1¼ cup)
3 lemons, juiced (about ¾ cup)
3 cups whole milk
3 cups heavy cream
2 bags ice, crushed
1 box ice cream salt
mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Combine bananas and sugar in a medium bowl, mashing bananas with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Add juice from oranges and lemons and mix well. Pour milk and heavy cream into an electric ice-cream maker’s canister, then add fruit and sugar mixture. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
As the canister spins, continue to layer salt and ice in the bucket for the duration of churning, about 30-40 minutes.
When ice cream is finished churning, use a spoon to dislodge any pieces of banana from the dasher. Scoop into cups or cones, garnishing with mint if desired. Store in freezer in an airtight container.
While this ice cream is delicious on its own, it can also be enjoyed with vanilla wafers, lemon cookies, or banana bread.