Warm, caramelized bananas + ice cream + fire? Yes, please! Not only does this dessert deserve a live audience, but the flavors are truly unbeatable. Existing in a category all its own, this New Orleans classic is all about technique and we are here to walk you through it, each step of the way!
2 bananas, halved and sliced diagonally
1 lemon, juiced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons banana liqueur (such as Crème de Banana)
1/4 cup dark rum (80 proof or higher)
1/2 pint vanilla ice cream, for serving
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans (optional)
- Gather and prep all the ingredients – this is a dish that happens quickly! (We even like to pre-scoop the ice cream and have it ready in the freezer for the individual serving bowls.)
- Peel, then cut the bananas lengthwise. Drizzle the slices with lemon juice to reduce browning.
- In a low-sided cast iron skillet, melt the butter and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk and allow the mixture to heat and become bubbly.4. Add the banana slices carefully — the butter-sugar mixture is very hot and may create splatters. Allow the slices to cook on one side for 45-60 seconds, gently turn the slices, and cook for another 45-60 seconds. The idea is to warm the bananas, not to cook or allow them to become mushy.
- Remove the skillet from heat. Add the banana liqueur and rum. Return the skillet to the burner, and allow the mixture to become warm again. As the mixture bubbles, the alcohol will burn off. If you choose to flambé the dish, carefully light the mixture just as it becomes warm again and before the alcohol burns away; the flames will erupt and burn off in about 30 seconds. (Be cautious! The flame can ignite quickly and will be very large! Have a lid handy to quickly extinguish any out-of-control flaming.)
- Once the alcohol has evaporated, or burned off, spoon the bananas and sauce over scoops of vanilla ice cream. Sprinkle the toasted pecans on top, and serve immediately.
DEVELOPED IN NEW ORLEANS IN THE 1950s, this dessert is easily assembled and guaranteed to satisfy all those around the table. The legend behind the dish stems from an abundance of bananas. At the time, New Orleans was a major port for banana imports. The chef, Paul Blangé, of famous New Orleans restaurant, Brennan’s, devised the dessert to make use of the area’s bananas. The dish was named for a friend of the restaurant’s owner, Richard Foster. Whether or not the dish is flamed, the dessert’s reputation as a delicious dessert is well-deserved.