Friday, February 23, 2024

Have You Ever Gone Bananas?

I was just a small tyke in 1951; too young to remember when Chef Paul Blange created the dessert known as Bananas Foster. This famous dessert came about as his response to a request by his boss Owen Brennan, of Brennan's Restaurant on Bourbon Street in New Orleans for a dish featuring bananas. Evidently Owen went Bananas with his first taste and a food legend was born.

This extravagantly decadent dessert was named after Richard Foster, who was the New Orleans Crime Commission Chairman and a personal friend of Owen Brennan, the guy who owned Brennan's back then. 

A bit of useless trivia - Owen's niece Ella Brennan worked for Owen then and later on became the driving force behind the success of Commander's Palace, which is one of the best restaurants to order the dish these days, along with the new Brennans and Mr. B's. Yes, all of these are Brennan restaurants. If my memory is correct, The University Club in Jackson also had an excellent version of the dessert during their tenure atop the DGB building downtown.

I think Mr. Brennan just figured, after one taste, the ice cream dessert his chef invented was so good that eating it should have been a crime, so he named it after his friend who was the city's Crime Commission Chairman.

The nice thing about Bananas Foster is it can be easily made by most folks. If you have normal kitchen skills, like being unafraid to melt lots of butter, and are smart enough to keep your hair out of the fire when flambéing your dessert, you can make this for your family. At first taste, they will sample the dish and applaud you as they all say, "This is just like eating at Brennan's back in the day!"

Here is how I make my version.

Let me get this out of the way. We do not keep Banana Liqueur in the house, so even though the original recipe calls for it, I don't use it in my version. You can add it (1 ounce), if you like. I also use pecans in my dish, where the Brennan's version uses Walnuts. Maybe my dish isn't Bananas Foster at all. Still really good.

Bananas Foster


(for two or three servings)

6 Tablespoons (+-) butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons rum
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise and crosswise
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 pint vanilla ice cream

CAUTION: This is not a low calorie dish.


Gather everything together. This recipe cooks quickly and there just isn't enough time to fool around looking for the cinnamon once you start cooking the dessert.

In a suitable pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. I used half a stick which was not enough and added an additional 3 Tablespoons, as shown in a photo below.

Be certain the pan is in a safe place to not set anything on fire when you flame the rum.

As the butter melts, add the brown sugar and cinnamon.

When my butter melted, I decided I had not added enough, so I added a little more. I never said this was low calory diet food.

Next, add the pecans or walnuts. I like to toast mine a bit in the hot butter and sizzling hot brown sugar mixture, so I cook this stage for maybe three minutes.

When you are satisfied your pecans are nice and hot, add the sliced bananas and cook them for one to two minutes in the sizzling hot butter/sugar mixture.

Quickly spoon the hot liquid over the bananas. They will cook as much as needed in one or two minutes.

While the butter is sizzling hot, add the vanilla and the rum. The contents will begin to somewhat violently boil. Sorry for no photo of the rum addition. Things were going very quickly. 

Immediately flame the pan. I use a BBQ pit lighter to keep my hands out of the burn zone. Be Careful to not get burnt when the rum flashes.

Be certain to not disturb the pan as it flames. The fire should burn strongly for maybe 30 seconds. 

Allow the flame to completely burn away the alcohol. At that point, the flame will go out. Turn off the heat and move the pan to a cooler place so the contents cool as you dish out a captain Jack portion of vanilla ice cream. I didn't do it, but you can pull the pan from the heat as soon as you ignite the rum and vanilla.

No need to plate the ice cream until the fire goes out. Honestly, the banana mixture needs to cool just a bit before spooning it over the ice cream, since it is hot enough to melt the ice cream really quickly before it cools a little. Spoon the banana mixture over the ice cream. As I have already said, it should be warm, but no so hot that it melts the ice cream before you can eat it.

Serve immediately. Try not to get caught licking the bowl when finished.

Thanks for looking.
God Bless You


Anonymous said...

I never indulge in others recipes… until now. Thanks a bunch.

Anonymous said...

I just slobbered all over my keyboard.....

Anonymous said...

Just give me a straw!

Anonymous said...

IMHO: Best dessert of all time.

Anonymous said...

I'm drooling now. Thank you for using dark brown sugar instead of the light stuff.

Anonymous said...

Another great recipe.

For anyone that might care, the original (Owen, Ella, Patio Royal) Brennan's recipe didn't have vanilla extract or nuts; it was bananas, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, banana liqueur, and rum.

Anonymous said...

Looks decadent. Was this served during Lent in New Orleans? I have gradually "Lented out" on sugar all the year long. It helps I was brought up with a Mom who called candy poison. Nevertheless, a tempting presentation by Bear.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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