The classic presentation for Bananas Foster is to prepare and flambé the dessert tableside in a beautiful chafing dish but it is equally good without the dramatics. Chill the dessert bowls during dinner.
1 quart of the best vanilla ice cream you can find
1 cube unsalted butter
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3 ripe bananas
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup banana liqueur
1/2 cup rum*
Add sugar, cinnamon and butter to a lighted chafing dish. Alternately, add to a medium sauté pan or saucier and cook over low heat on the stove. Heat until butter and sugar has melted. Peel bananas, cut in half, then slice each piece lengthwise into two sections. Carefully add banana pieces to chafing dish, basting with syrup. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add rum. Cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and add banana liqueur.
Put a large scoop of vanilla ice cream in each chilled dessert dishes. Carefully arrange 3 banana quarters around the ice cream and spoon the hot syrup over the top. Serve immediately and enjoy.
*Dark rum adds extra richness to this already decadent dessert while light rum tones it down.
For a dramatic presentation, flambé at the table. Have the ice cream in the dessert dishes. The easiest and safest way for the untrained chef to flambé is to REMOVE the pan from the heat source, add the banana liqueur and ignite with a long match. Baste the bananas with the flaming sauce, using a long handled spoon or ladle. The flame will go out once the alcohol has burned off.
Practice common sense – fire is dangerous. Roll up your sleeves, tie back long hair – and don’t do this next to the curtains. Don’t lean over the pan when lighting. Keep a box of baking soda or a small fire extinguisher on hand. It is not advisable to let children make this dessert. You get the point!