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Bananas Foster

Flambéed desserts have long illuminated historic New Orleans restaurant dining rooms with their showstopping flames. The most famous of these French Creole classics is bananas Foster, created in 1951 by chef Paul Blangé at the now-legendary Brennan's Restaurant. This luscious creation, traditionally prepared tableside, features sliced bananas flambéed with rum and vanilla. Although Hurricane Katrina heavily damaged Brennan's, the restored restaurant is back in business and continues to enchant diners with its signature dessert, the most-requested dish on the menu.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 ripe but still firm bananas, peeled, halved
      crosswise and then lengthwise (into quarters)
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving

Directions:

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the banana slices and cook, turning once, until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

In a small cup, stir together the rum and vanilla. Turn off the burner, then add the rum mixture to the banana mixture. Using a long match or lighter, light the alcohol by placing the flame just inside the outer edge of the pan. Stand as far back from the pan as possible, keeping your face and hands away from the pan. The flame will be a faint blue but will be very hot. It should extinguish in 5 to 10 seconds. Holding the pan handle with an oven mitt, gently shake the pan from side to side to coat the bananas with the sauce.

Scoop vanilla ice cream into individual bowls. Spoon some of the bananas and sauce over the ice cream, dividing evenly. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.