This is a dessert made from bananas and vanilla ice cream, with a sauce made from butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, and banana liqueur. The butter, sugar and bananas are cooked, and then alcohol is added and ignited. The bananas and sauce are then served over the ice cream. Preparation of the dish is often made into a tableside performance as a flambé.
The dish was created in 1951 by chef Paul Blangé at Brennan's Restaurant. Owen Edward Brennan opened Brennan's Restaurant in 1946 in the French Quarter. In the 1950's, New Orleans became a major port of entry for bananas from Central and South America. According to legend, Owen Brennan asked his chef, Paul Blange, to create a dish featuring the tropical fruit. Chef Blange rose to the challenge and invented Bananas Foster. the dish was named after Richard Foster, a friend of Brennan and a regular at the restaurant. He was also the New Orleans Crime Commission chairman at the time.
However, Bananas Foster was not created just out of the blue. Keeping in mind that New Orleans cuisine is part of le Monde Créole, it is enough to look around the Caribbean to find ancestors for this dish. After all, what is so unique about cooking bananas, the most ubiquitous Caribbean fruit, with rum, the most ubiquitous Caribbean booze? In fact, there is a similar desert in Martinique called "Caramelized Banana With Rum Sauce". The dish consists of bananas cooked in butter, topped with a sauce made of caramelized sugar, raisins, vanilla, orange juice and rum.
Last updated: August 8, 2014