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Classic/Classic Update: Bananas Foster

The boozy dessert classic from New Orleans goes head-to-head with a pastry chef’s refined interpretation. Which one gets your vote?

The classic
New Orleans native and food expert Poppy Tooker shares her best-ever recipe for this flaming dessert. Her formula is foolproof: Firm, ripe bananas that won’t fall apart while cooking are sautéed in a rum-infused caramel sauce and then spooned over vanilla ice cream for a treat that will have you licking the bowl. Created at Brennan’s in New Orleans in 1951, the dish was named after local businessman and loyal customer Richard Foster. Bananas appear twice in this dessert: Banana quarters are cooked until caramelized, and a dash of banana liqueur helps dissolve the sugar for a smooth caramel sauce. Just five ingredients—dark rum, butter, brown sugar, banana liqueur, and cinnamon—make up the sauce, which takes little more than 5 minutes to cook, start to finish. A restaurant favorite, this classic is traditionally ignited in front of diners. A pinch of cinnamon is thrown into the flame for extra sparkle and fizz.
Classic Bananas Foster
The Classic: Classic Bananas Foster

The update
New York pastry chef Deborah Racicot pulls apart the classic flavors and reconstructs them in a stunning tart with a double dose of chocolate. In this modern take, torched bananas and rum-spiked pastry cream are layered on a cocoa-fueled crust and drizzled with a warm chocolate sauce. In a nod to the original, a shot of dark rum perks up the vanilla pastry cream and in this version, a bittersweet chocolate sauce stands in for the traditional caramel. There’s no need for tart pans—the rolled-out dough is frozen, then cut into rectangles and baked. There's no rustic presentation here, the dessert gets artfully shingled banana slivers and piped whipped-cream rosettes.

  Banana Cream Tart with Chocolate Sauce
The Update: Banana Cream Tart with Chocolate Sauce

Recipes by Poppy Tooker and Deborah Racicot
from Fine Cooking #106, pp. 84-87

Photos: Scott Phillips


posted in: Blogs, dessert, classic/classic update, bananas foster
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