My husband asked me to make this for him on New Year’s Eve, and how could I argue! Neither of us is much of a sweets eater, or we like to pretend we’re not, but with Bananas Foster, you make it to order and there are no leftovers! Unlike a cake or pie…
It’s ironic that he asked me to make this, since I’d promised my bloggers that I’d be cooking up some dishes out of the Foods of the World cookbooks, but the American regional ones. (Just as the post Shrimp Jambalaya.) I feel these regions have their rightful place in the culinary world, and definitely in American food history.
Bananas Foster, is from the cookbook: American Cooking: Creole and Acadian, from which I made the Shrimp Jambalaya. I will print out the recipe exactly, and then add my notes and comments below.
To serve 4
1 pint vanilla ice cream
8 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2″ bits
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 firm ripe bananas, peeled and cut lengthwise into halves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup banana liqueur
1 cup rum
This elegant dessert of flamed bananas and ice cream, created at Brennan’s over 20 years ago (this book was published in 1971!) for a regular patron named Richard Foster, has become one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.
Prepare and assemble the bananas Foster at the dinner table when you are ready to serve them. Light an alcohol burner or table-top stove and set a 12-inch copper flambé or crêpe-suzette pan over the flame. Arrange all the ingredients conveniently beside the pan. Place a scoop of ice cream on each of four chilled individual dessert plates and set them to one side.
Combine the butter and brown sugar in the flambé pan and stir until the mixture becomes a smooth syrup. Add the bananas and baste them with the syrup for 3 or 4 minutes, then sprinkle in the cinnamon.
Carefully pour in the banana liqueur and rum, and let the liquors warm for a few seconds. They may burst into flame spontaneously. If not, ignite them with a match. Slide the pan back and forth until the flames die, basting the bananas all the while. Place two banana halves around each scoop of ice cream, spoon the sauce over the top and serve at once.
Here’s my recipe for Bananas Foster, according to my notations:
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 firm bananas sliced lengthwise and crosswise
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup banana liqueur
1/3 cup rum
Put out the ice cream to warm a little. Place the butter in a skillet and melt it over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir. I don’t make a “syrup” because I like the caramelized crunch that the brown sugar transforms into. Add the bananas and cinnamon, then sauté them for about 5 minutes. Add the liqueurs, turn up the heat, and watch the flames until they die down.
Divide the bananas accordingly between bowls, add a scoop of ice cream, and pour the lovely alcoholic caramel sauce over the top. Sprinkle with more cinnamon if desired.
note: I obviously like a higher ratio of ice cream to bananas, or I would not have originally added notations on this recipe to serve 2 instead of 4 ! But another radical change was to cut back on the liqueur – especially the rum. I like rum as much as the next guy, but I don’t like my dishes too alcoholic, and rum is one that can be overpowering. Oh, and I don’t make mine at the table.
another note: I just remembered that I cut the halved bananas also crosswise for two reasons: 1. As they sauté they get very soft and they become difficult to remove from the skillet to serve, unless you literally pour them out of the skillet, but then you would also need a banana-length bowl in which to serve the bananas Foster. 2. Let’s face it. Bananas aren’t pretty. Halved bananas are a little prettier. See what I mean?