Gianduja Chocolate Kulfi w/ Caramelized Banana, Cocoa Nibs & Popcorn

Welcome to my post-apocalyptic version of a chocolate dessert. So dramatic. The one that ends it all. Kulfi is an Indian ice cream that’s not quite as romantic as gelato but has its own charms, including a slightly chewy texture and a creamy taste. This Gianduja version is as close to a Nutella frozen treat that you’ll ever get. As you may already know Gianduja is a type of Italian chocolate that contains about 30% of hazelnut paste which is best known under the brand Nutella. The problem with Nutella (which was originally called Pasta Gianduja) is that it has a lower hazelnut percentage and fillers to make it spreadable that we don’t want in our dessert, so you should look for a solid block of Gianduja at your Italian market. I’ve added cocoa nibs and chopped roasted hazelnut for some crunch, whipped cream and popcorn because it’s fun, and a caramelized banana because nutella + banana = awesome (duh!)

So how does it compare to Nutella straight out of the jar? Well, you have to think outside the fortune cookie on this one. If you look at the Nutella family tree, this would be the more refined but unpretentious second cousin. Those two are hard to compare to each other but most likely to get in a fight at a family gathering.

Pichet Ong, the diminutive former pastry chef of Spice Market, made an Ovaltine version of this dessert years ago which is still apparently one of the best sellers at the restaurant. Maybe we’re on to something here.

  • Gianduja Chocolate Kulfi w/ Caramelized Banana, Cocoa Nibs & Popcorn

    Inspired by Pichet Ong in “The Sweet Spot”
  • Serves 10
    • For the Gianduja Chocolate Kulfi:
    • 4 cups heavy cream
    • 1 vanilla bean, split in half
    • a large pinch of Fleur de Sel
    • 1 cup Ovaltine powder
    • 14 ounces Gianduja chocolate, chopped
    • For the Caramelized Banana + Garnish:
    • 3 bananas
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 4 tablespoons sugar
    • cocoa nibs
    • toasted hazelnuts
    • caramelized popcorn
    • 1 cup whipped cream
    • For the Gianduja Chocolate Kulfi:
    • Simmer heavy cream, vanilla bean and salt in a medium saucepan for about 25 minutes until cream is reduced by 1/3. Remove the vanilla bean and dry in low oven (use for garnish). Add ovaltine powder whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat, add the Gianduja and stir until melted. The mixture should be totally smooth and have a fudgelike consistency. Strain mixture and pour mixture onto 10 to 12 portion-sized flexipan molds. Freeze until set. If you don’t own flexipan mold you could use 3-ounce wax-lined paper cups to shape the kulfi. Simply peel off the cups when you’re ready to serve.
    • For the Caramelized Banana + Garnish:
    • Slice the banana. In a medium sautee pan, melt the butter and add the sugar. Cook until it begins to caramelize. Add the bananas and cook on one side over medium heat until golden and caramelized. Reserve on a plate until ready to serve. If you own a blowtorch, you could just sprinkle the bananas with sugar on one side and caramelize them with the blowtorch, just like you would a creme brulee.
    • Unmold the kulfi and plate. Arrange the caramelized bananas on one side. Garnish with toasted hazelnuts, cocoa nibs, caramelized popcorn, whipped cream and a dry vanilla bean.
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  • Peter Minaki

    Tres sexxy dessert Stephane…still in awe from when you first tweeted this dessert.

  • Jennifer

    YUM. This looks like pure bliss.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Love the finish on it! it’s so lovely and glossy! 😀

  • Marte

    This looks really amazing! I’ll bet it tastes amazing too!

  • Chang Pick Yin

    Sex on a plate. I had to say that. 

  • mayssam

    Good morning food porn! That looks absolutely decadent!!

  • vanillasugarblog

    oh zenman so so pretty.
    you are majorly talented.
    get thy french ass to audition for top chef: desserts
    i mean hello?

  • Valeria

    oh wow it’s so pretty!! too much to eat…mmm, wait…maybe not!:)

  • Grubarazzi


  • Anonymous

    Top what? I don’t own a TV. 😛

  • Trish

    This looks amazing, and ovaltine. WOW what a distant childhood memory. Just reading the recipe I am salivating! Excellent presentation too.

  • Frank

    I actually don’t like Nutella (too sweet for me) but THIS I can handle any time. It sounds incredible and looks like a work of art!

  • Katherine Martinelli

    Wow wow wow this looks absolutely stunning!! I didn’t realize that about Giandujaand Nutella, very interesting. I love kulfi, I love all of the components, I’m sure I would go nuts for this.

  • Cookingrookie

    Absolutely gorgeous presentation!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Trish!

  • Oui, Chef

    This is absolutely gorgeous, Zen.  Lucky for me I have some Valrohna Gianduja in my pantry.  Roasted banana with anything wins in my book.  Love your photos on black, still unmistakably Zen, and very dramatic.

  • Karen | Citrus and Candy

    I think my heart’s just stopped. I would so step over old ladies for one of your desserts!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Karen.
    Stepping over old ladies? That’s the spirit! :)

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad you like it. Thanks, Steve!

  • Rose Purnell

    You made some really good points there. I looked on the web for the subject material and found most individuals will consent with your blog.

  • Cinnamin

    Wow! That is one helluva dessert. I’m an Indian myself and enjoy my kulfi- I never thought of making a chocolate version and pairing it with banana! Great recipe and great idea. Don’t know when I will bet my hands on some gianduja, but it’s on my radar!!