Monday, May 30, 2011


Walnuts remind me of my childhood in Springfield, Missouri (nicknamed the Queen City of the Ozarks).  Not those anemic English ones, but the earthy, oily, pungent black walnuts There were lots of black walnut trees where I grew up.  One of my favorite desserts was (and still is) homemade banana black walnut ice cream.

That ice cream didn’t come easy. Black walnuts grow with a thick husk surrounding the nut.  These are super-difficult to remove. 
Thankfully, my dad took care of that, or we bought our walnuts already husked and cured.

There was still hard work to do.  Mom sent me to the front porch with a basket of husked black walnuts and a hammer.  My mission: To bust open those tough shells and then tackle the delicate task of picking the nutmeats out of their small, intricate chambers.   
 I remember helping Dad crank the ice cream machine, impatiently waiting for that first spoonful of "summer delight."  Yum.  All that preliminary work was definitely worth it.

Here’s a recipe for ice cream like my mom used to make. No hammer or crank involved this time. I made it in a 2-quart electric ice cream maker and purchased my shelled black walnuts on Amazon.  For food safety I used pasteurized-in-the-shell eggs.

2 eggs — beat until foamy
1 cup sugar — add to eggs slowly and beat until thick and smooth
Then add:
2 mashed ripe bananas
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (not imitation)
1/2 cup chopped black walnuts
Add 2 1/2 to 3 cups half-and-half cream (to the fill line on your ice cream can)
Mix again, then follow manufacturer's directions on your machine.

After slurping down a bowl of this ice cream, as they say in the Ozarks, "you'll be happy as a hog in a wallow!" 

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