In the 1950's, New Orleans was the major port of entry for bananas shipped from Central and South America. Owen Edward Brennan challenged his talented chef, Paul Blangé, to include bananas in a new culinary creation-Owen's way of promoting the imported fruit. Simultaneously, Holiday Magazine had asked Owen to provide a new recipe to appear in a feature article on Brennan's.
In 1951, Chef Paul created Bananas Foster. The scrumptious dessert was named for Richard Foster, who, as chairman, served with Owen on the New Orleans Crime Commission, a civic effort to clean up the French Quarter. Richard Foster, owner of the Foster Awning Company, was a frequent customer of Brennan's and a very good friend of Owen.
Little did anyone realize that Bananas Foster would become an international favorite and is the most requested item on the restaurant's menu. Thirty-five thousand pounds of bananas are flamed each year at Brennan's in the preparation of its world-famous dessert.
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup banana liqueur
- 4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
- Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet.
- Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
- Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan.
- When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum.
- Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum.
- When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream.
- Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.
Favorite recipes from New Orleans area restaurants are featured each month.