Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bananas Foster

Overripe is how some people like their bananas. But for me, it's much too intense.
I'd like to go ahead and say that most of the population out there is on my side when it comes to banana flavor preferences, but I guess I have no real way of knowing this.

A ripe banana can be almost 20% sugar content, according to food scientist Harold McGee. This naturally makes them among the sweetest fruits- apparently a percentage exceeded only by two other fruits, one of them being the date.

Once bananas are ripe, they can be stored in the fridge for a while.  This will slow the ripening process of banana starches breaking down into sugar. The bad news is that cold makes them develop an unsightly black peel, and eventually the texture may change, so it's not a trick you can use indefinitely.
Refrigerators aren't really part of a banana's natural habitat.
It doesn't look too pretty, but it'll taste ok.

Really though, at that particular stage, bananas must be too intense and too soft to be palatable to many (but as an ingredient in banana bread, they're perfect). If you have an overripe banana or three, put them in the freezer for banana bread someday down the line.

Cooked is also not how I like bananas as it also tends to intensify that already somewhat intense banana flavor.
Really though, how often does anyone eat cooked bananas, other than in the requisite banana bread?
However, bananas in a rum caramel sauce is very nice (who can argue with a rum caramel sauce?). Bananas, which are a custardy fruit to begin with, become softer and more of a creamy as they melt into the sauce a bit.
Warm, sweet, custardy, banana-y, rummy-ness laced with a bit of cinnamon. And of course, because there are bananas in this dessert we can say it's semi-healthy.

I think I'd have to say the toasted pecans are necessary. They offer a nice contrast to this creamy and ultra sweet dessert.

Dark rum is highly recommended, but sometimes you don't have it available to you and you're not about to run out to the store. In that case, it's important to use whatever rum you might have- you can only do what you can do. And hey, if you feel like being wild and crazy and using coconut rum, go right ahead and do just that because it's your dessert.

Bananas Foster
probably serves 6 or more

5 T butter (and add a generous pinch of salt if using unsalted butter)
1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/3 c heavy cream
2/3 c dark rum
3-6 bananas, thickly sliced (use your judgement here, it depends on the number of people)

Vanilla ice cream
Toasted pecans

Melt butter (and salt, if using) in a heavy skillet over low heat, add the sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking and stirring until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Add the cream and stir through the caramel. Pour in the rum and stir the mixture thoroughly. 
Once the rum is fully incorporated, add the sliced bananas. Stir quickly to coat the bananas in the caramel sauce, and ignite the sauce. This can be done either by tipping your pan towards a gas flame (if you have one), or using a match (preferably long) or even a long uncooked piece of spaghetti that you have lit with a match or lighter. Then again, of you're not comfortable with this, it's ok and not completely necessary (perhaps just cook a little longer to burn off some of the alcohol).
When the flames have died down, spoon the sauce over vanilla ice cream and top with toasted pecans.


  1. We love chocolate, but it is nice to have a dessert that is not always chocolate.
    Who'd have thought bananas/caramel?

    Good to see you back, Peachy!

  2. Dear VINde,

    Got anything orange other than juice?

    Fruit dessert girl.

  3. You mean something with oranges?
    Not strictly (at the moment).
    Orange is really nice for pairing with other flavors to really make them stand out.
    For example, it's always great added as juice and zest to anything rhubarb.
    If you want something orangey, I think the closest I could offer is strawberries in orange-caramel sauce. I think the best way to find the recipe is by doing a search on this site.

  4. Orange caramel sauce is so elegant.
    We love this recipe here.
    Another excuse(it is) to have ice cream.