A world famous dessert with simple ingredients, which are available all year around, bananas Foster is easy to make and awes every guest around the dinner table.
What is the origin of bananas foster?
Bananas Foster is a fairly new dessert, which was conceived in New Orleans, Louisiana, home of the Creole cuisine. In the early 1950s, the city’s port was the main point of the inbound banana shipments from Central and South America. Local restaurateur, Owen Brennan wished to give a lift for the consumption of the new ingredient and asked his chef, Paul Blangé to create a banana-based dessert.
It got its name after Brennan’s good friend, Richard Foster and became a staple dish at Brennan’s restaurant till these days. It is said that at Brennan’s, 35,000 pounds of bananas are used for bananas Foster each year.
The ingredients are very simple but as they mostly are from Central America, it provides a pretty exotic dessert. Vanilla and rum work great with banana. Brown sugar and banana liqueur give depth in flavors. The bananas should be light in color and ripe but not mushy.
This technique is the core element of bananas Foster and can be very useful in the kitchen when making other desserts or even main courses. So it’s worth some effort and practice, because it pays off. Basically, the alcohol is used from the applied spirit, which gets inflamed, then gets burnt off, just to leave some aroma and smokiness behind. There is no need to be afraid of carrying out this method. Just make sure to pour the alcohol onto the dish, then carefully set it on fire and enjoy the view, till the alcohol burns off.
Even if this liqueur makes bananas Foster really unique and flavorful, many recipes mention banana liqueur as an optional ingredient and therefore people usually omit it as buying a whole bottle would be too much when the recipe requires only a few ounces.
Preparing a homemade version of banana liqueur is amazingly fuss-free, cheaper and rewarding. All you need are brown sugar, banana and rum. White and also aged are preferred from the latter, to provide a rich liqueur. Pour 1½ cups white and ½ cup aged rum to 2 cups sliced bananas and let the concoction to be infused for a week or so. Discard the bananas and use a fine sieve to get a pure liquid. Make sugar syrup from ½ cup of brown cane sugar and ½ cup of water, then after cooling it, mix it with the rum in a clean bottle. Let it rest for a few days before using.
Vanilla ice cream
You can always keep a box of good quality vanilla ice cream in the freezer, to be able to prepare bananas Foster (or other quick desserts) anytime you wish. But sometimes for a change, you can make your own ice cream at home, even without an ice cream maker. For an easier version, pour sweetened condensed milk and sprinkle some vanilla beans to the freshly whipped cream (with soft peaks), then after carefully mixing them, freeze and finally scoop to the top of the bananas. For a richer version, you need to make a custard base, then adding double cream and vanilla, pour it into an ice cream maker and scoop it out when it’s ready.
How to make bananas Foster more irresistible?
A simple dessert, such as bananas Foster is a great dish to spice up. Vanilla complements most spices, hence you can mix nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, even white pepper with it, but the utmost pairing is certainly tonka beans. They can be added to the ice cream or sprinkled over the dessert as a finishing touch.
The bananas and caramel pairing is a match in heaven, just like in the banoffee pie, but you should also try maple syrup. Its earthy flavor would be great with the after taste of flambéing and the brown butter and rum sauce. Roasted, roughly cut nuts, like cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts can give the necessary crunchiness, and really lift this humble dessert to new levels.
- 4 bananas cut in half, lengthwise, then cut in half again
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 small vanilla pod split lengthwise and scraped
- 5 tablespoons banana liqueur
- 5 tablespoons dark rum
- 8 scoops vanilla ice cream
- In a frying pan, melt the butter over low heat and add the sugar and cinnamon over medium heat.
- Mix until the sugar dissolves (about 3 minutes).
- Add the bananas to the pan and mix.
- Sauté the bananas for a few minutes to caramelize them.
- Add the banana liqueur and mix.
- Add the vanilla and mix.
- Add the dark rum and flambé the mixture.
- Arrange 2 scoops of ice cream per person on a plate and top with flambeéd bananas.
- Top with the reserved hot sauce from the pan and serve immediately.