Brennan’s Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster was originally created by Brennan’s in New Orleans, and it is hard to make this recipe any better.  Butter, caramelized bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg, and different types of liqueur make this a true delight.

two bowls of homemade Brennan's bananas foster dessert

Are you looking for a dessert that is easy to make, yet elegant enough to impress your guests? Then you can’t go wrong with the classic Brennan’s Bananas Foster. This banana dessert combines banana flambe with a rich, spiced caramel sauce and cold, creamy vanilla ice cream to create the ultimate flavor combination. If you have never tried this dish before, you don’t know what you are missing.

Bananas Foster: Enjoy a Spoonful of History

Bananas Foster has its origins in New Orleans during the 1950s. At that time, the Big Easy was one of the busiest ports for importing bananas into the United States from Central and South America. That meant the city was teeming with bananas. With a surplus of a cheap, yet, not overly versatile fruit, New Orlean restaurants were always on the lookout for new ways to serve bananas on their menus.

While many of the precise details surrounding the creation of the first banana flambe are in dispute, there are two facts that are certain. First, Brennan’s, a popular French restaurant on the notorious Bourbon Street, served Bananas Foster. Second, the name of the dessert from Richard Foster, the chairman of the New Orleans Crime Commission, and a close friend of the owner of Brennan’s.

How to Flambe Safely

The most complicated part of making Bananas Fosters is flambeing, or the process of igniting the rum to burn off the alcohol while leaving behind the flavor of the spirit. Although flambeing does add a unique dimension to the dish, the real benefit is the drama it provides in the dining room. However, if you lack experience with flambeing, it is safer to do it in the kitchen and follow these tips:

  1. Use a large pan with high sides.
  2. Before adding the rum to the pan, remove it from the burner. Never pour the rum into the pan directly from the bottle; instead, measure out the rum first.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium before attempting to flambe. Don’t allow the alcohol to come to a boil.
  4. Use a long, bar-b-que style lighter to ignite the vapors at the edge of the pan, and not the alcohol itself.
  5. Continue to cook until the flame completely disappears. Give the pan a few light shakes to ensure all the alcohol burns off.
  6. Keep a lid handy to cover the pan if things get out of control – a ruined dessert is better than a ruined kitchen.

Tips for Making and Serving Bananas Foster

  • You don’t need to add rum. If you would prefer not to add rum, it is okay to leave it out.
  • Reserve extra cinnamon powder. A sprinkle or two of cinnamon on top of the vanilla ice cream heightens the flavor of the dish.
  • Try adding pecans for a unique flavor and texture. Pecans are a Southern tradition and a natural when it comes to caramel. Add the pecans at the same time you add the banana slices.
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      Ingredients

      Here’s what you need to make bananas foster:

      • Butter
      • Brown sugar
      • Cinnamon
      • Banana liqueur
      • Bananas
      • Dark rum
      • Vanilla ice cream

      Brennan's bananas foster ingredients

      How to Make Bananas Foster

      1. Combine butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet.
      2. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
        bananas foster sauce in a skillet
      3. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan.
      4. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum.
      5. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum.
      6. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place over ice cream.
      7. Spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.

      two bowls of bananas foster dessert and two spoons

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      two bowls of homemade Brennan's bananas foster dessert

      Brennan’s Bananas Foster

      You don't need to be in New Orleans to enjoy Brennen's Famous Bananas Foster dessert. You can make it at home.
      Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
      Course: Dessert
      Cuisine: Cajun
      Keyword: Bananas, Bananas Foster, Ice Cream Recipes
      Servings: 4
      Calories: 641kcal

      Ingredients

      • 1/4 cup butter
      • 1 cup brown sugar
      • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      • 1/4 cup banana liqueur
      • 4 bananas cut in half, then cut lengthwise
      • 1/4 cup dark rum
      • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream

      Instructions

      • 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.  

      Recipe Tips for the Cook

      Never pour alcohol directly from the bottle, always measure out, and pour from a separate container. 

      Nutrition

      Calories: 641kcal | Carbohydrates: 102g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 626mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 87g | Vitamin A: 710IU | Vitamin C: 10.6mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 0.8mg
      Tried this recipe?Mention @CopyKatRecipes or tag #CopyKatRecipes!

    About Stephanie

    I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

    Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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    Reader Interactions

    Comments

    1. Jane

      5 stars
      My granddaughter was talking about ice cream in this flavor! I told her my dad made this recipe for my mom sometimes in the evening before bedtime. They had it at “Brennan’s” many years ago. I think my mom had read a book called “Breakfast at Brennan’s” so she had to do that. I don’t know if he just winged it or if he had a recipe. Seeing this recipe brought back fond memories of them.

    2. JOHN VINGARA

      5 stars
      I was a Cia grad we used crm de cocoa, crm de banana, dark rum. I have recently also started adding juice half squeeze orange. Have made this this for thousands of people over 15 years, at local functions. Truly brings up to a 6.

    3. PhotoMatt

      4 stars
      Close… but no cigar. I worked at Brennan’s and made this dish nightly for years. No need for that much butter….. about a 1/4 of what you’re calling for will do. Waiters at Brennan’s generally use 1-2 pats of butter. Also, don’t wait til the brown sugar dissolves to add the liqueur. About 20-30 seconds is more than enough time to wait before you add liqueur. And if you’re going to make this… you need a bit more flourish. Be sure to save some cinnamon on the side to toss into the flames after it ignites. 😉

      • Stephanie

        Wow, only 1 to 2 pats of butter. I am glad the waiters in Houston use a little more 😉 Good to know about the flourish! If you haven’t been there, they shake a little cinnamon into the flame so everyone can watch it spark.

    4. Dolores

      5 stars
      Oh My gosh! Who eve posted this recipe must be a mind reader. I have wished

      for this recipe for many years. If you ever go to New Orleans, a trip to Brennan’s

      is a absolute must. Please try to Banana Foster. The Mint Julep wasn’t my thing.

      The atmosphere was perfect. Go during the winter months.

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