The rich New Orleans dessert of flambéed bananas served with vanilla ice cream was created at the world-famous Brennan’s Restaurant in the French Quarter to honor a friend of the owners. For decades it has been a favorite way for New Orleanians and visitors alike to end a hearty breakfast at the legendary restaurant and has been imitated everywhere. Here we use the banana preparation to top an upside-down cake, another southern classic.
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup dark rum
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
About 2½ cups sliced (¼ inch, crosswise) ripe but firm bananas
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup milk (not nonfat), at room temperature
Premium vanilla ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.
Combine ¼ cup of the butter with the brown sugar, rum, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, frequently stirring until the butter and sugar are melted, about 3 minutes. Pour into the cake pan. Arrange enough banana slices to fit very snugly in one layer over the butter mixture; the bananas will shrink during baking.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk to mix well.
Combine the remaining ½ cup butter and the granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the vanilla and blend well. On low speed, add about one-third of the flour mixture and then half of the milk, mixing just until the ingredients are incorporated. Then add half of the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk, and finally the remaining flour mixture. Scrape the batter into the pan and carefully spread it evenly over the fruit.
Bake until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 2 minutes. Then, run a paring knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake sides, invert the cake onto a wide serving plate, and lift off the pan; the sauce will run down the sides of the cake onto the plate. If any fruit sticks to the pan, remove it with a spatula and reposition it on the cake.
Cut into wedges and serve warm (reheat briefly in a microwave oven, if necessary) with scoops of ice cream.
Result: Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake
Have a good meal, and see you soon with new delicious ingredients.
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