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Where to go with bananas foster


jrshaul
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I've been working on my culinary skills as of late, and have been having a whale of a time playing around with flambées. Bananas foster is a particular favorite; the ingredients are cheap, bananas are available year-round, and nearly everyone I know enjoys it immensely. I use this modified form of an Alton Brown recipe:

-4 bananas

-1 cup sugar

-1/2 cup bourbon

-4 tablespoons butter

-1/4tsp nutmeg

-1/2 tsp allspice

I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on my methodology, or variants on the recipe that might make it more interesting. My procedure is to caramelize the sugar 'till it gets dark brown, then add the butter and seasonings. I then pour the bourbon on top, ignite it, and put out any minor fires in my facial hair, before finally simmering the bananas in the mixture for a few minutes.

I've been considering the following options:

1. Giving the bananas a crunchy toffee coating by covering them in sugar and using a torch. This works fairly well, though I've never been able to get the toffee layer as thick as I'd like.

2. Altering the order of ingredients. Should I let the caramel cool a bit before adding the butter? Should I add the seasonings after burning off the booze?

3. Fried bananas? I've seen some recipes that use a batter of coconut, flour, and water.

4. Some restaurants have tiny bits of toffee in the mixture. How do they do this?

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2. Altering the order of ingredients. Should I let the caramel cool a bit before adding the butter? Should I add the seasonings after burning off the booze?

I paid my way through college bartending at various Brennans restaurants in new orleans (they invented the dessert) and had to make these damned things countless times. We always used to cook the brown sugar and the butter at the same time to make the caramel, so maybe you could vary your method back to the original method for some variety. Also perhaps try substituting cinnamon for the allspice for a more classic version. As for when to add the seasonings, part of the "show" of the dessert is shaking the cinnamon over the flame and watching it sparkle in the flames as it falls.

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You could also check out the Puerto Rican route to BF - Amarillos A La Moda.

1 tbsp butter

2 very ripe yellow plantains, peeled

1 tsp cinnamon (ground)

1/3 C panela or at least demerrera sugar

1/2 C sweet white wine

1/2 C brandy

nutmeg to sprinkle.

Begin by rolling the plantains in sugar and cinnamon, then cook in a saucepan in the butter until they begin to caramelize. Remove from heat and place in a baking dish, then deglaze the pan with the wine and pour the result over the plantains.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (uncovered).

Remove from oven, plate, and pour brandy over; flame, allow to self-extinguish. Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve with ice cream - vanilla's my fave for this one. If you get very good at it, the brandy can be lit while it's still pouring from the snifter, resulting in a stream of liquid flame onto the dessert.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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On the subject of bourbon vs. rum, I'll stick with the bourbon. I've tried rum both at home and in restaurants, and greatly prefer the whiskey.

Make the butter into beurre noisette first.

I'll give it a try, but I'm not sure how necessary it is - I add the butter straight into the hot sugar, and it gets flambeéd afterwards.

You could soak the bananas in a mixture of Calcium Hydroxide. According to cooking issues it cross links the pectin making the bananas hold up much better to cooking.

http://www.cookingissues.com/#Magic_Mineral

I've not had problems with the bananas breaking down, but I'll keep it in mind. I've found a neat recipe for fried bananas...

Coconut oil makes a great sub for the butter...

I might be doing it wrong, but I did a direct substitution of 1 tablespoon of coconut oil for one tablespoon butter, and all the oil came out of solution. I should have accounted for the water in the butter, but I ended up spooning up all of it all off the top. I like the butters' flavor better anyway, but I'm puzzled as to what I did wrong.

You could also check out the Puerto Rican route to BF - Amarillos A La Moda.

Will do. Looks interesting.

Edited by jrshaul (log)
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. . . . I did a direct substitution of 1 tablespoon of coconut oil for one tablespoon butter, and all the oil came out of solution. I should have accounted for the water in the butter, but I ended up spooning up all of it all off the top. I like the butters' flavor better anyway, but I'm puzzled as to what I did wrong. . . .

Coconut oil has no emulsifier; evidently the very little that is present in butter is necessary to keep it in solution.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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  • 2 months later...

The other day, my grandchild, who is almost four, was over and we had bought bananas and vanilla ice cream. So I decided to make Banana's Foster. I started eating Bananas Foster at a fairly nice restaurant in Richmond, VA in the mid 1970's and they prepared it tableside, it was a place that has a prix fixe menu and this was one of their few extra cost options.

They would carmelize the *white* (I've made it with brown, I don't like it as much) sugar with butter, and then mix it with triple sec (or cointreau), a liquor for flambee, and then squeeze in about half an orange or a bit more or less.

Also, in my feeling, half of your bananas should be crisp, and half of them should be underripe, just off green, even a tiny bit starchy, while the other bananas should be well sweet of yellow, even brown spots all over the skins, and even a little soft. Cut your unripes into halves the short way, then into sticks by cutting it into quarters the long way. The browner bananas disintegrate a bit as stirred, this is desirable.

I find the perfect burner to make this dish on is one of those little gas burners that takes the same sort of butane can that the torch takes. I was using a good sized chef's pan and so I had no problems.

I tried a hint of cinnamon and it was not a hit - people said that it put them in mind of apples and they wanted bananas.

So, what to do.

I added the butted first, once it just started to brown the sugar went in. Then once the sugar is well melted, the bananas go in.

People know the usual way of making it, but with the orange juice there is one extra step. I make the sauce a lot hotter than Brennans seem to because my rum was boiling quickly and I got it lit and had a three foot flame that lasted about 4 seconds. Now last time I sitting on a chair working on the coffee table to make this after dinner, and when I lit the flambee, his eyes got as big as saucers, and he took me by the shoulders when the flame was out and said, "Grandpa, you should never, ever do that again! You have to promise me!" I told him that it was a way of cooking and I promised not to do it for a while.

You have done the flambee, and what happens is that you have a fairly thick sauce. It thins with the addition of the dark rum (I like the dark rum better, but I don't object to bourbon being used in making this dish, lord knows it doesn't taste that good when you try to drink it, and Brennan's uses Banana Liqueur) but then it thickens when you keep cooking. You should have a citrus juicer. Squeeze in one lemon wedge and then squeeze in oranges, an eighth at a time. Stir between additions. Squeeze, stir thoroughly to incorporate. You will probably get about a half in before the sauce thins all at once.

Now stop adding juice and cook it just a little more, while stirring. You have fallen off of a sort of knee if thickness and you want to be in the middle of the knee, so just as soon as you feel the sauce climbing it in thickness, you are done. Turn the heat off and dish the sauce out.

I usually don't like vanilla ice cream but this is the one exception.

When done properly, the sauce should have a good banana flavor.

Remember that the point of this stuff is to make it tableside, in front of family and friends.


SousVideOrNotSousVide - Seller of fine Artificial Ingredients such as Lactisole through Amazon.Com....

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One time I grabbed the wrong bottle making bananas foster and ended up pouring $20 worth of 30-year old Scotch in the pan. (I was busy, slightly buzzed, and not paying attention.) It was AMAZING. Butterscotch caramel and bananas. Who'd have thought?

(Please don't use the good stuff. Blended scotch will work just as well, and it won't make you cry for making such an expensive mistake.)

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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