Bananas Foster is a New Year’s tradition in my family. Every year for as long as I can remember, my mom would butter a skillet, add sugar, rum, butter and bananas, and then light the whole thing on fire while we watched the ball drop on TV.
I’ve missed a few celebrations at home, but I try to carry out the tradition no matter where I am. Last year in D.C., when I hosted a New Year’s Eve party at my apartment, I made Bananas Foster close to midnight.
My kitchen could barely fit two people, but everyone crowded around to watch me light the flame over the sauce. Some people tried to do it for me, probably because I don’t look like I should be trusted with fire. I prevailed.
There’s something to be said about eating warm, spicy, caramelized bananas and cool vanilla ice cream at midnight. It’s a sweet beginning to a new year but it’s also a great panacea for the year that passed. No matter how nostalgic or disillusioned I am at 11:59 p.m., eating the bananas makes everything (temporarily) better.
My mom usually doubles this recipe to feed many hungry people. Feel free to adjust it to your party size. Leftovers can be refrigerated and warmed the next day for oatmeal, waffles, crêpes or pancakes…the options are endless.
Bananas Foster (adapted from here)
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons rum
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise and crosswise
1 pint vanilla ice cream for serving
Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring sauce to simmer. Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning sauce over bananas as they are cooking. Carefully add the rum. If the sauce is very hot, the alcohol will flame on its own. If not, using stick flame, carefully ignite and continue cooking until flame dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If sauce is too thin, cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is syrupy in consistency. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!