I like Bananas Foster, but to me it’s lacking something. Maybe I was too strongly influenced by my 5 trimesters at Johnson & Wales. When plating desserts, we were taught that the dessert needed 4 components: the main item, a sauce, a garnish, and – my favorite – a crunch component. Which is probably why when I wrote up that idea for Boca Negra Hearts it also included a sauce (actually two), a garnish (the raspberries) and a crunch component – the florentine heart. (Of course, I ignored that whole 4-part thing with the Creme Brulee and the Cannoli, but hey, rules are made to be broken. At times.
Anyway, for me, Bananas Foster needs something else. So here’s what I came up with:
You will need:
1 package frozen puff pastry dough
2 ripe bananas
Good vanilla ice cream
2 T unsalted butter
2 T white sugar
2 T brown sugar
4 oz banana liqueur
2 oz rum
Okay, either in the morning or the day before, make the puff pastry hearts. (Or circles or rectangles if you prefer – I just thought, you know, hearts…valentine’s day…)
You want to thaw the puff pastry dough in the fridge the day BEFORE you plan to use it – I mean, say you are going to make this dessert this Thursday. Take the puff pastry dough from the freezer and put it in the fridge on Tuesday so you can make the hearts on Wednesday.
Once the dough has thawed, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap the dough and dust your work surface with a little flour. Roll the dough out to help smooth out any creases. Cut out whatever shapes you plan to use, and place them on your baking sheet. Place them in the fridge for half an hour.
When you’re ready to bake them, first, brush with an egg wash (1 egg + a tablespoon of water, mixed together) to give them a nice shine.
Slide them into the oven and shut the door. Unless you meant to take a picture of them first, in which case, just open the door, crouch down, and snap a picture. Like this.
The package of puff pastry dough should tell you how long to bake them for – I believe these cooked for 20 minutes. You want to make sure they are cooked through – not just pretty on the outside.
Allow them to cool completely, then put them in a ziploc bag until you need them.
Now for the bananas.
First, place your butter and the two sugars in a pan and set your heat on medium.
As they start to melt, stir them together to blend.
While that’s going on, peel and slice your bananas. Traditionally, the bananas are sliced lengthwise, and then cut in half cross-wise. But I cut them into "coins" instead.
When your butter/sugar mixture is nice and bubbly,
add the bananas,
and add in the banana liqueur and the rum. Now, usually when Bananas Foster is made tableside in a restaurant, the waiter will flambe it with the rum. I wanted to, but I hadn’t thought about it when I selected this pan, and I couldn’t tilt the pan into the flame without the banans and sugar spilling out. So I just put the rum straight in and let it all cook on medium low while I got the rest of the dessert ready.
First, get out your ice cream so it can soften a bit.
Next, with a sharp knife, separate the top from the bottom of each of 4 puff pastry hearts. Place the bottom of one heart in the bottom of a bowl.
Top that with some ice cream…
and then top that with a second bottom slice of puff pastry heart.
And then…when the bananas are soft and look kind of like this…
Spoon half the banana mixture on top of the puff pastry and ice cream…
and finish with two top halves of the puff pastry hearts. Like so….
Repeat with the other two split puff pastry hearts, some more ice cream, and the rest of the bananas. Serve immediately.
Now that I think about it, this would also make a pretty yummy breakfast, too.