A fresh look at the banana split

DO THE SPLITS: This sweet, light-hearted concoction is perfect for summer entertaining.
DO THE SPLITS: This sweet, light-hearted concoction is perfect for summer entertaining.

Banana splits are a reminder of long hot summers of childhood past - and this version suits more refined adult tastes, too.

100g whole hazelnuts
4 bananas, split down the centre
wafers and cocktail umbrellas
2 very ripe medium to large bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
4 tbsp brown sugar
100ml golden syrup
1 litre good-quality vanilla ice-cream, softened
2 x 395g cans sweetened condensed milk (such as Nestlé)
300ml cream
300g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped


1. To make banana ice-cream, place ripe bananas, brown sugar and golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan and cook over a low heat, breaking up bananas with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick paste. If it goes a little grey, keep cooking until it caramelises into a rich golden brown. Cool and chill, then fold through vanilla ice-cream in thick swirls before freezing.

2. To make dulce de leche, remove labels from condensed milk cans and just slightly pop ring-pull tops to open a small hole. Place in a heavy-based saucepan and fill with water to about 2cm from top of cans. Lightly simmer for 2 1/2 hours, topping up water constantly. Allow to cool, then spoon out caramel and whisk vigorously to remove any lumps.

3. For chocolate ganache, melt cream and chocolate gently over a double boiler and whisk until smooth and glossy. Cool to room temperature. (This recipe makes more dulce de leche and chocolate ganache than you will need, but, as chef Age Durrant says, there's no such thing as too much.)

4. Preheat oven to 180°C. Toast hazelnuts for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly and rub off skins while warm.

To serve, place a split banana on each plate and top with 3 scoops banana ice-cream. Add generous dollops of dulce de leche and ganache, and scatter with hazelnuts. Decorate with wafers, cocktail umbrellas, whatever you like ... The more, the better!

-Sydney Morning Herald