Bananas Foster

bananas foster with ice cream

The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: Serves 1

Bananas Foster is not only a dessert—it's a show! It was created by chef Paul Blangé at Brennan's restaurant in New Orleans back in 1951. At that time, New Orleans was a major hub for the import of bananas from South America. The chef created a dessert where bananas are sautéed in a butter and brown sugar sauce flavored with cinnamon. Banana liqueur and rum are then added to the dish and ignited with a flame. This technique is called flambé meaning "flamed" in French. After the alcohol is heated in the pan, it is then ignited to partially burn off the strong alcohol, while maintaining the flavors of the liquor in the dish. This process reduces the alcohol content of the food modestly, boiling off about 25 percent of the alcohol and producing a dramatic effect.

This showstopping dessert is perfect when served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The contrast between the warm bananas and sauce with the cold ice cream is a delight. Spoon extra sauce over the ice cream for added flair.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana (ripe, yet firm)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 ounce banana liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce rum
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Bananas Foster ingredients
    ​The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  2. Peel the banana and slice lengthwise. 

    Peel and slice banana lengthwise
    ​The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  3. Melt brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan.

    Melt butter and brown sugar in pan
    ​The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  4. Add the banana and sauté until tender.

    Sauté banana
    ​The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  5. Sprinkle with the ground cinnamon. Add the banana liqueur and rum. Gently warm the alcohol and coat the bananas in the sauce.

    Add cinnamon and alcohol
    ​The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  6. Ignite the sauce with a flame.

    Light the bananas foster
    ​The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  7. Baste the bananas in the liquid until the flame burns out.

    Baste the bananas
    ​The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni
  8. Serve the bananas foster immediately with a scoop of ice cream.

Tips

  • Have all your equipment and ingredients needed to flambé your dish ready before starting the process.
  • Cold alcohol will not ignite. Be sure to heat it just until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the saucepan. You will be able to see vapors rise from the liquid in the pan.
  • A tableside flambé can be part of the show! If you are planning to flambé in front of your guests, light the dish at the table, but far away from guests and flammable objects.  

Warning

  • Never pour alcohol directly from a bottle into a pan that is near an open flame. The flame can follow the stream of alcohol into the bottle and cause it to explode.
  • Do not carry the dish while flaming.
  • Be sure to use a flambé pan or large skillet with rounded, deep sides and long handle for safety.
  • Keep a large metal lid on hand, to cover the dish in case your flambé gets out of hand. Always remember to use caution as you will be dealing with a liquid that is on fire.