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Bananas Foster is made with fresh bananas simmered in a warm, sweet butter and rum sauce that is spooned over vanilla ice cream. It’s heavenly!
Bananas Foster is one of those classic desserts that looks very fancy, but it’s SO simple to make!
What is Bananas Foster?
Bananas Foster is a wonderfully decadent dessert that consists of sliced bananas that are simmered in a sauce made with butter, brown sugar, rum, banana liquor, and a touch of cinnamon.
It was invented back in 1951 at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans by Ella Brennan, who managed the restaurant with her brother Owen. Ella was charged with coming up with a special new dessert for a dinner being held at the restaurant for the New Orleans Crime Commission chairman, Richard Foster.
Bananas were plentiful in New Orleans at the time, so Ella decided to use them in the dessert. Bananas Foster was named after the chairman, and it was so popular, it quickly earned a permanent place on the dessert menu at Brennan’s.
How do you make Bananas Foster?
Our Bananas Foster recipe is the true recipe from Brennan’s restaurant with one exception.
The original recipe uses two different liquors: banana liquor and dark rum. Banana liquor can be difficult to find – or if you can find it, you’ll probably end up with a large bottle in your cabinet with limited uses (unless you make Bananas Foster all the time, or like cocktails that include banana liquor.)
Jack decided to make his own ‘banana liquor’ for this recipe – simply combining mashed banana, sugar, and rum. It takes just minutes to prepare and achieves the same effect of imparting an intense banana flavor into the sauce.
Otherwise this recipe is simply sliced bananas that are simmered in a sauce made with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, rum and the banana liquor. As the bananas soften in the sauce, you’ll light the pan on fire (either tipping it toward the cooking flame if you have a gas stove, or lighting it very carefully with a long match or hand-held, long stemmed butane lighter). The alcohol burns off during this step, leaving only the intense rum and banana flavor behind.
Bananas Foster still appears on the menu at many more formal restaurants today. It’s often prepared tableside as a flambéed dessert, and it’s exciting to see the show of flames in the pan! But, it really is simple enough to make at home for any special meal.
How do you serve Bananas Foster?
To serve, simply spoon the hot bananas and sauce over scoops of vanilla ice cream. The hot sauce will instantly begin to melt the ice cream (another reason why it’s prepared and served tableside at restaurants).
The sweet, rich bananas against the puddle of cold, vanilla ice cream is one heavenly bite!
You may enjoy these other banana recipes:
- Best Ever Banana Bread
- Banana Chocolate Chip Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Banana Chocolate Chip Granola Muffins
- White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
- Grilled Bananas and Pineapple with Rum-Molasses Glaze
1/2 ripe banana, well mashed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
(**Alternately, if you have a bottle of banana liquor on hand, use 1/4 cup)
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup banana liquor from above
4 firm peeled bananas cut in half across the center, then split in half the long way (4 pieces per banana)
1/4 cup dark rum
1 quart vanilla ice cream*
Make the banana liquor by placing the mashed banana, granulated sugar and rum in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes then pour into a sieve over a measuring cup. Use the back of a spoon to press any solids through the sieve. This liquid should yield ¼ cup. If it’s a little over, that’s fine.
In a large non-stick skillet, place butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and over medium heat, stir and combine.
Once the brown sugar dissolves into the butter, add the banana liquor. The mixture will bubble as you add. Work quickly and stir this around to mix.
Add the banana pieces and over the course of two minutes, spoon the syrup from the pan edge over the bananas as they cook.
You will notice the bananas will just start to soften after 1-2 minutes. At this point, remove the pan from the heat, add the rum and place it back on the heat. Tip the pan away from you slightly so the rum ignites and cook for about one more minute to burn off the alcohol. Pull the pan off the burner.
Scoop the ice cream into four plates or bowls and add four banana pieces and syrup to each bowl and serve.
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*We found it easier to pre-scoop the ice cream into bowls then freeze the bowls of ice cream while preparing the bananas Foster. When the pan just comes off the heat, pull the bowls of ice cream from the freezer and top with the hot bananas. This way the ice cream stays solid longer while serving and eating.