Recipe makes four servings. Preparation time is 15 minutes.
8 tablespoons salted butter
3/4 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup crème de banana liquor
4 medium-size ripe bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
1.5 ounces of brandy to flame
4 to 8 scoops vanilla bean ice cream (frozen yogurt and non-dairy ice cream substitutes work, too. Try a berry sorbet for a twist on the traditional.)
Four chilled serving bowls
In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir until golden brown, add banana liqueur and sugar, and mix well. Lay bananas, flat side down, in pan. Heat for three minutes or until banana is tender. Add brandy around the edge of the pan. If cooking over gas, tip the pan into the flame to ignite the brandy. Otherwise, ignite with a long-handled lighter. The dish will flame for about 15 seconds.
Place scoops of ice cream in the serving bowls. Remove bananas from pan, turn off heat, and place 2 banana halves in each serving bowl (you might need to cut the banana to fit). Pour the cooked syrup over each serving portion. Eat before the ice cream has melted.
Once you’re comfortable with this preparation, experiment by adding nutmeg or cinnamon, changing the liquor to Kahlua, dark crème de menthe, or Tuaca.
This recipe is for gas heat; add a few more minutes of cooking time for electric heat.
Angela Sanders writes about food, culture, and history from Portland. www.angelamsanders.com