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Archive for August 25, 2017

RECIPE: Deconstructed Banana Split, For National Banana Split Day

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[1] The deconstructed banana split at Sushi Samba in New York City (photo courtesy Sushi Samba).

Banana Split

[2] The traditional banana split (photo courtesy California Milk Advisory Board).


How should you celebrate August 25th, National Banana Split Day?

There’s the tried and true banana split, of course. Classically served in a long dish, called a boat (which gives the sundae its alternative name, banana boat), the recipe is familiar to most ice cream lovers:

A banana is cut in half lengthwise and set in the dish with scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. The strawberry ice cream is garnished with pineapple topping, chocolate syrup is poured on the vanilla ice cream and strawberry topping covers the chocolate ice cream. Crushed nuts, whipped cream and maraschino cherries garnish the entire boat.

Today, there are many variations to the classic banana split. We’ve had other Banana Split Sushi, Banana Split Cheesecake and the recipe below, Deconstructed Banana Split.



  • Banana slices
  • Unsalted butter
  • Optional: dash cinnamon
  • Ice cream flavors of choice
  • Optional: caramel corn
  • Whipped cream
  • Berries of choice
  • Sauces: chocolate, strawberry (you can easily make strawberry purée)

    1. CUT the bananas in half width-wise, and then lengthwise. Sauté in butter with a dash of cinnamon until browned. Arrange on a plate, as shown in the photo.

    2. ARRANGE the other ingredients: whipped cream, caramel corn and fruit.

    3. DRIZZLE with sauce or fruit purée of choice.



    According to the Pennsylvania town of Latrobe, the banana split was invented in 1904 by David Evans Strickler, a 23-year-old apprentice pharmacist at Tassel Pharmacy*. He enjoyed inventing sundaes at the store’s soda fountain. His first “banana-based triple ice cream sundae” sold for 10 cents, which was double the cost of the other sundaes.

    News of the new sundae was picked up by the press and spread nationwide. Variations of the recipe appeared in newspapers.

    The enterprising Strickler went on to buy the pharmacy, re-naming it Strickler’s Pharmacy. The city of Latrobe celebrated the 100th anniversary of the invention of the banana split in 2004, and the National Ice Cream Retailers Association (NICRA) certified the city as its birthplace.

    The annual Great American Banana Split Celebration is held throughout the downtown Latrobe in late August, in 2017 from August 25th-27th.

    *According to Wikipedia, Walgreens is credited with spreading the popularity of the banana split. A chain of drug stores established in the Chicago area in 1901 by Charles Rudolph Walgreen, Walgreens promoted the banana split as a signature dessert. But was it served when the store opened, or did someone at Walgreens read the recipe and adopt it. Did Walgreens bestow the name Banana Split to the “banana-based triple ice cream sundae”? So far, the record is mute.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Naked Cake With Stone Fruits

    The summer’s selection of stone fruits are begging for a naked cake. June through September is prime stone fruit season in the U.S.


    Stone fruits are members of the Prunus genus, and include:

  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Lychees
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Olives
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Cross-breeds such as apriums, plumcots and pluots
    A stone fruit, also called a drupe (it’s , is a fruit with a large, hard stone (pit) inside a fleshy fruit. The stone (pit) is often thought of as the the seed, but the seed is actually inside the stone.

    Most stone fruits are native to warmer climates. That’s why in the U.S., much of the local supply comes in July and August.

    A drupe is a fleshy fruit with thin skin and a central stone containing the seed. Not all drupes are stone fruits.

  • Nuts such as almonds, pecans and walnuts are examples of the seeds inside the stones. They’re also drupes, but a type in which we eat the seed inside the pit instead of the surrounding fruit.
  • The coconut is also a drupe, as are bramble fruits such as blackberries and raspberries.
  • Not all drupes have single large stones. Raspberries are a good example. To see their stones, the fruit has to be carefully broken open. Then, the tiny stones can be seen inside (that’s why raspberry “seeds,” or drupelets, are so crunchy). They are called stones because botanically, the seeds keep their covering (called an endocarp)— not because the seeds are large and hard.
  • Avocado is actually a berry, not a stone fruit (more). Berries are a different genus in the same botanical family as drupes.
    More for botany lovers: Drupes are members of the Rosaceae family—the rose family—which includes shrubs as well as other prominent fruits in non-drupe, genuses, such as apples, loquats, pears, quinces and strawberries.

    Naked Cake is just the thing for summer. It requires no frosting on the sides (although some bakers like to use a thin swath.

    Here’s more about naked cake, with plenty of photos of different presentations.

    You can make any layer cake, but we prefer our homemade pound cake recipe (it’s more buttery). And guess what: box mixes don’t save time. The Kitchn did side-by-side tests; here are the results.

    What you do save is a wee bit of clean-up, although we just stick the measuring spoons and cups in the dishwasher.

    It’s different with whipped cream. Home-beaten cream is so luxurious, but does take 10 minutes. If you’re time-strapped, grab a couple of cans of Reddi-Wip.

    Round cake layers are more elegant to present, but loaf cakes are easier to slice. To use a loaf cake, cut two slices and put the filling and fruit on the bottom; add the top layer and the sauce.

  • Pound cake or yellow butter cake (from scratch or a mix)
  • Sliced stone fruits (an assortment is the way to go)
  • Filling: lemon or other curd, custard, instant vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream
  • Topping: fruit puree* While photo #1 uses chocolate sauce, we think summer is too heavy for the cream-based chocolate/butterscotch/caramel group, and suggest a raspberry purée
  • ________________

    *While photo #1 uses chocolate sauce, we think summer is too heavy for the cream-based dessert sauces (chocolate, butterscotch, caramel). A berry purée is just right.


    Stone Fruit Naked Cake
    [1] A couple of cake layers, sliced fruits and whipped cream or fruit purée are a light, luscious summer dessert (photo Wife Mama Foodie | Facebook).

    Naked Cake Fresh Figs
    [2] Does light swath of icing make this a semi-naked cake? This recipe, from Wife Mama foodie, is a spice cake topped with fresh figs.

    Mixed Berry Naked Cake
    [3] A mixed berry naked cake is also a summery treat (photo Wife Mama Foodie | Facebook).

    Betty Crocker Pound Cake Mix

    [4] If you don’t like to measure, use a box mix. But The Kitchn proves it’s not a time saver (photo courtesy Betty Crocker) .

    1. COVER the bottom layer with the filling, followed by the fruit. Add the top layer and press lightly. Add the topping and you’re ready to eat!

    This recipe is especially good with blackberries, boysenberries and raspberries. You can use fresh or frozen berries. Frozen is less expensive, and once you mix the purée with sugar and lemon juice, you can’t tell the difference.
    Ingredients For About 1 Cup

  • 12 ounces (approximately 1-1/2 cups fresh or defrosted frozen berries†
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, less or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

    1. SORT and wash the berries (or thaw if frozen). Drain, cap and de-stem unsweetened berries.

    2. COMBINE the berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; process to a smooth purée, about 30 seconds. NOTE: Puréeing may be done in a blender or a food processor. If using a blender, make sure that any seeds are not ground so finely that they will pass through the sieve.

    3. POUR the mixture into a fine sieve set over a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to stir and press the purée through the sieve. Discard the solids. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. (Editor’s note: Less is more when it comes to sugar.)

    4. REFRIGERATE in a non-reactive container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

    †When making purée from frozen fruit, let the berries thaw in a colander over a bowl. Once the berries have thawed, pat them dry before blending. By draining the berries first, you get a thicker purée.


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