If you’re craving a taste of New Orleans, look beyond beignets and King Cake. Bananas Foster, a simple, elegant and oh-so sinful concoction, originated in New Orleans in the 1950s at the legendary Brennan’s Restaurant. Named for Richard Foster, a frequent diner at the restaurant and close friend of owner Owen Edward Brennan, the recipe was created to promote New Orleans as a major port of entry for bananas shipped in from Central and South America.
Today, Brennan’s flambés 35,000 pounds of bananas annually for what has become the city’s signature dessert. Like most of the locally beloved fare served in the Big Easy, this dessert is laden with some of the biggest no-no’s on a calorie-conscious person’s watch list: butter, ice cream and booze. The bananas are sautéed in butter, rum and brown sugar into a state of sweet gooey goodness, then set ablaze in a flaming finale (typically in a dramatic tableside performance) and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Caloric excess aside, the great thing about this pyrotechnic masterpiece is it’s easy to make, quick, and too tasty for words.