The Weekend Dish – Bananas Foster

A banana tree was planted in this backyard sister’s backyard a few years ago. After noticing one in a neighbor’s front yard, and thus quelling any doubts we had about their ability to grow in our Southern California coastal climate, we decided to give it a try. Enlisting the help of a backyard son we chose a spot out near the vegetable garden, planted it and waited; with visions of Chiquita-like bananas available by a simple stroll out the back door. How excited we were when the first bunch appeared! When it turned, what we deemed a sufficiently yellow hue, we even more excitedly ran in to the house and prepared to consume this previously unimaginable treasure of a banana fresh off the tree. Peeling the tiny fruit was different from your average banana but with some effort it was accomplished and I took the first bite and was greeted by a chalky, slightly bitter, hard, dry banana. banana tree
A few chalky bananas later, we came to the conclusion that these bananas weren’t improving and were more like plantains and therefore in need of some cooking (and sugar and liquor and butter!)  Bananas Foster visions happily replaced the fresh off the tree visions. Not only is the dish delicious but it makes for an impressive sight when the bananas are flambéed right before serving.

bananas foster flameIt takes caution and finesse to execute this dish.

bananas foster flame1This definitely was an improvement for these bananas or plantains. Still, these were not the best bananas or even close. The banana tree tale ends a little sadly with the decision to remove it due to its rapid rate of growth causing infringement on the vegetable garden space and its production of little, dry, chalky fruit. The banana tree is, however what lead us to try this recipe and I am eternally grateful.

~ Susan

bananas foster

Bananas Foster

  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur
  • 4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet.
Place the pan over low heat, either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan.
When the bananas soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum.
Continue cooking until the rum is hot, but not boiling or the alcohol burns off and won’t ignite.
Using a long handled match or barbecue lighter ignite the rum using the fumes at the edge of the pan. Make sure you aren’t leaning over the pan and aren’t wearing loose clothes. Never pour alcohol from bottle onto flaming pan because this can cause an explosion.
When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place over the ice cream in dishes.
Top with generous spoonfuls of the sauce and serve immediately. This is also a delicious topping for waffles or crepes.

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