Created at Brennan's restaurant in New Orleans in 1951, this classic dessert was named after loyal customer Richard Foster. Firm, ripe bananas are sautéed in a rum-infused caramel sauce, then flambéed in front of diners and spooned over vanilla ice cream. For extra pyrotechnics, throw a pinch of cinnamon onto the sauce as it flames.
Read the Test Kitchen blog for tips on flambéing safely.
In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon and cook until moist, about 1 minute. Add the banana liqueur and cook, stirring continuously, until the grainy texture disappears and the mixture rolls off the spoon in a steady stream, 1 to 2 minutes. Put the banana quarters rounded side down in the pan. Cook until the bananas begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
Turn the bananas onto their flat sides. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the rum. Set the pan over high heat and carefully ignite the rum with a long match or grill lighter. Gently shake the pan until the flame subsides. Remove from the heat.
Place a generous scoop of ice cream in 6 to 8 individual heatproof dessert bowls. Arrange 2 to 3 pieces of sautéed banana around each scoop of ice cream. Spoon on the sauce and serve immediately.
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Photo: Scott Phillips