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“Bananas Foster!!!!” • April 1, 2006

Too Yummy for Words!!

This is my most favorite desert of all time — and wonder of wonder — it doesn’t have chocolate!!!  (Someone should probably alert the media — film at eleven — “Meredith chooses bananas over chocolate — Chocolate suppliers fall into state of total apoplexy — Fear economic ruin!!”

Before I create a complete panic and send the chocolate industry into a total meltdown, we’ll be getting to the chocolate goodies VERY shortly, but I had to share this one with you first.  This is actually THE Boss’ recipe.  He worked at a fancy smancy restaurant back in college as a waiter/bartender/tip hustler and this was one of the restaurant’s signature desserts — and one that provided a lot of tips for the table side preparers!  (THE Boss was a hustler even back then.  One of his standard bartending tip hustling tricks was to “card” every thirty something girl that walked in — and then be “astonished” that they were over 21!!  GUYS!!!!)

Bananas Foster is said to have originated at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans, but some people also say that Flambéed Bananas have been around for a lot longer than that.  I’ll leave the debate up to someone else and just say that this is absolutely fabulously deliciously wicked!!  And — it is super easy to do.  (But you’ve got to be careful and follow the directions.  If you start improvising, you might be meeting the cute guys at the fire department — like Jocelyn and I did!!)

SO — let’s start with the stuff you’ll need.  You can adjust the quantities up or down as needed but this recipe is for four normal people (or two tyrannosaurs or one GUY!)

For four servings:

4 bananas

1/2 stick sweet butter (that is unsalted butter — and if MUST be butter — don’t even think of using anything else!!)

1 cup light brown sugar (dark seems to work OK, too)

1/4 cup rum 80 to 100 proof

1/4 cup banana liqueur

cinnamon — lots and lots to sprinkle!!!

4 big scoops of vanilla ice cream in 4 bowls (Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla is the best!!!!!)

1 fireplace match or wood splint

1 male to provide labor (not absolutely essential, but highly recommended!!)

Get everything together and measured out first — things are going to happen quickly.  In particular, measure out the rum before hand because you don’t want to be messing around with it when you need it.  You should use 80 to 100 proof “cheap” rum — it’s all gonna burn up when you flame it.  And DO NOT use 151 proof rum or for Goshsakes EVERCLEAR!  It’ll make a bigger fireball alright, but it may burn your house down!!  That’s how we got into trouble!!  THE Boss and his cronies at the restaurant figured out that “the bigger the fireball, the bigger the tip.” So they used everything up to and including low yield nuclear devices to flame their dessert!!  THE Boss is one of those yo-yo’s that should have died a half dozen times immediately after saying, “Hey Everybody — Watch this!!!” So — be smarter than THE Boss (it’s not hard because he’s a guy) and don’t set anything on fire — including yourself!!!!!

By the way — speaking of THE Boss and guys in general — and the dumb things they do — did you ever notice how the guys got all the muscles but WE got all the brains??? We’ll talk more about this at length later in an M Column!  I have irrefutable scientific proof!!!

OK — moving right along — recruit your selected male to use those big strong manly muscles to scoop the ice cream out into the bowls and then stash the ice cream laden bowls back in the freezer.  You need to use some bowls that can take going from cold to hot without breaking.  I use metal ones.  If you use glass or porcelain, then wait to scoop the ice cream until just before you need it and don’t put the bowls in the freezer.  You don’t want to break anything from thermal shock.

Peel the bananas and split them in half lengthwise, then cut each half into two pieces.  That is, four pieces per banana.

Use a big skillet (stainless steel works best — don’t use cast iron — and Teflon coated doesn’t seem to cook this as well) and melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the brown sugar and keep stirring until the brown sugar melts — this only takes a minute or so — be SURE not to burn it — watch the heat.  (You’ve just made caramel by the way — or almost — I’m gonna do a Chez Meredith recipe later on to die for caramels!!)

Lay the bananas in with the flat side down.  Add the banana liqueur and sprinkle lots of cinnamon atop the bananas.  Use a metal spoon and ladle the sauce over the bananas.  After about two minutes, turn the bananas over with the metal spoon.  Sprinkle more cinnamon of them.  All the while the bananas are cooking, keep ladling the “caramel” sauce over them.  It will take a total of three to four minutes for the bananas to fully cooked and get soft.  They should be soft but not falling apart into mush.  Better a tiny bit undercooked than overcooked!

OK — now it’s time for the big flaming!!  They are a couple of methods for doing this.  For your first time, turn the heat up to high, pour in the rum, and let everything heat for 10 or 15 seconds.  Dim the lights and use a long fireplace match or wood splint to light the run (just hold the burning match an inch above the pan.) WOW!  Use a metal spoon to pour the burning sauce over the bananas and to make sure all the rum burns off.  As soon as the flames die down, spoon four banana pieces around the ice cream in each bowl.  Spoon a fourth of the sauce over the top of each ice cream scoop!

Eat it all up!!  Yummy, Yummy, Yummy!!!!

After you have soloed once, you can try a little more dramatic flaming!  Pour the rum into a metal ladle and rest the bottom of the ladle in the sauce to heat the rum up for a few seconds.  Lift the ladle up and use a long match to ignite the rum, then pour it cascading down into the skillet!!  DOUBLE WOW!  AND — Obviously — BE CAREFUL and don’t set anything on fire (including yourself!!!) AND also, be careful spooning the heated sauce unto the ice cream as it can burn if you splash it on you.

You can also try adding a little grated orange peel when you add the bananas.  Some folks like the added citrus taste.  Try it both ways.

Practice this a couple of times, then spring it on your guests at your next dinner party!  Not only does it taste heavenly, but it’s a heck of a showstopper!!  (And who knows, maybe they’ll leave a tip!!!)



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Last Updated: April 2006

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