Oh no I didn’t. Did I put a banana flambée in a Panna Cotta dessert AND make it dairy-free too? Why yes I did. Thank me later, try it first. I know in English they’re called Banana Fosters but I just feel so posh saying “Banana Flambée” and that’s the way I’ll keep saying it in this post because I’m French so I’m allowed to use fancy snobbish culinary words. Plus I just can’t picture myself serving this dessert saying “Aaaand for dessert, Bananas Foster!”. Yes, I have to picture myself serving my desserts at a White House Fundraiser to decide on the recipe title.
So, how on earth did this recipe even come to mind? It was quite an adventure. There once was a man called Freddy who decided to practice segregation with bananas. Because apparently not all bananas are created equal. See I learned that last week. And not all bananas are worthy of his new gluten-free, nutrient-dense power breakfasts. So when I came home last Sunday from the farmer’s market with a “Hi Honey! I bought some bananas for your breakfast!” with a big smile on my face but was met with a “You shouldn’t have!” that meant “No really. You shouldn’t have.” instead of “Thanks”, I knew he probably wasn’t going to eat the bananas. He ate maybe half, until our roommate bought a fresh batch of the “elite” bananas that he’d much rather eat. I don’t eat bananas regularly so how was I supposed to know they tasted different? Days passed by and I saw my bananas getting riper and riper, and not in a good way. Until Wednesday rolled around and I decided to put my foot down and say: NO! We DO NOT waste bananas in this house!
Now would you or wouldn’t you believe me if I told you that the subject OBSESSED me the entire day long? You probably wouldn’t, unless you were like me and looked forward to getting home after a long day’s work and relaxing in front of the stove to create a new recipe. Those are the kind of wild nights I like to have to unwind. My thoughts just kept wandering back to: “What could I make with those bananas?” Banana pudding? Meh. Banana muffins? I was sick of making muffins (gasp!). Banana bars? Is that even something? Banana Panna Cotta? I had been wanting to make a dairy-free Panna Cotta for so long with coconut milk. These bananas were perfect for that. But if you’ve been reading me for some time now, you probably have a pretty good idea of how my brain works. I never stop at just “oh, I’ll make a Panna Cotta and that’s it”.
And it goes like this: maybe with some of that organic Bourbon Vanilla I have. Yeah, Bourbon Vanilla Banana Panna Cotta, sounds nice. No wait, Caramelized Bourbon Vanilla Banana Panna Cotta. Now we’re talking. I could caramelize them with some honey. No WAIT, even better, with dates! Wait, uh-oh, genius incoming: we have RUM at home! I could totally go Caribbean style on those bananas and flambe them! And I had never flambed anything in my life before but I always thought it looked like so much fun. It was indeed.
Friends, I give you the Banana Flambée Panna Cotta. And please, don’t go calling it a Bananas Foster Pudding. That stuff just doesn’t fly at the White House.
Recipe: Banana Flambée Pannacotta
3 medium very ripe bananas
2 cups (450 ml) of coconut milk
8 Deglet Noor dates (only 4-5 if using Medjool)
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of organic Bourbon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp (9g) gelatin – substitute with agar-agar in equal amounts for a vegan version of this recipe.
4 tbsp of cold water
1 shot glass of dark rum
1. Melt the coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Chop the dates in small pieces and slice the bananas and add them to the melted oil. Stir them around and let them cook on medium-high heat for 6 minutes until mushy and slightly caramelized.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat, pour the shot glass of rum over the content and ignite using a long match or lighter. Stand back and watch: this is a pretty thing. Let the mixture burn until the flame extinguishes by itself.
3. Once the flame is completely extinguished, return the pan to heat, add the coconut milk, vanilla and cinnamon and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir regularly and try to break up any lumps of banana and dates to obtain a smooth Panna Cotta mixture. If needed, use a blender or a hand blender for this.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the gelatin (or agar agar) and the cold water and let stand for 5 minutes to soften. Add it to the warm Panna Cotta mixture in the pan and stir until the gelatin (agar-agar) has completely dissolved.
5. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into individual glasses or small jars and chill them for at least 4 hours until firm, or refrigerate overnight.