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Old 09-09-2006, 08:13 PM   #1
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Bananas Foster won't ignite...

as a native louisianian and want-to-be chef, i'm almost embarrassed to say that for the 2nd time in 2 weeks, i can NOT get my myer's dark rum to ignite while making bananas foster.

i've done this several times with NO problems, but lately, i can't get the rum to ignite.

any suggestions...

btw, here's the recipe for 2 people:

2 T butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 T banana liquer (LeRoux Creme de Banana is awesome)
2 T myer's dark rum
sprinkle cinnamon
2 bananas
2 scoops Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.

1. melt the butter & sugar until carmelized... sprinkle in the cinnamon
2. add the bananas and banana liquer and cook on low-med heat for about 2 min.
3. carefully add the myer's dark rum... and let it heat up until very warm.
4. ignite by tipping the pan or using a long kitchen match.
5. let the bananas cook for another 2 min. on low heat-making sure they're all completely covered in the sauce... then have your date grab 2 spoons and 1 bowl.
6. dump the ice cream in the bowl, place the bananas on top, and pour on the sauce.
7. gaze into your date's eyes and tell him/her that you hope they're as good as the dessert.



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Old 09-09-2006, 11:13 PM   #2
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Try igniting the rum right after you add it to the pan.
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Old 09-10-2006, 04:16 AM   #3
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Are you using alcohol-free rum?

I'm with Andy, ignite the rum as soon as you add it. The alcohol evaporates fairly quick and without alcohol it won't burn...
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Old 09-10-2006, 06:56 AM   #4
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Actually the alcohol sticks around for a lot longer than you may think. Alcohol does not really cook out easily. Even after it has ignited there is still a lot left.

Check out this chart to see how much alcohol is left after various cooking times and methods.

I have never actually flamed any alcohol when cooking so I have no first hand knowledge of this, but I have always thought that you do want the alcohol warm before you light it because that helps to vaporize it and it is the vapors that actually light.
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Old 09-10-2006, 10:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
Actually the alcohol sticks around for a lot longer than you may think. Alcohol does not really cook out easily. Even after it has ignited there is still a lot left.

Check out this chart to see how much alcohol is left after various cooking times and methods.

I have never actually flamed any alcohol when cooking so I have no first hand knowledge of this, but I have always thought that you do want the alcohol warm before you light it because that helps to vaporize it and it is the vapors that actually light.
I've always tossed it into the pan without warming, tipped the pan towards the flame, moved away to arm's length then cried "WHOOPPEEEE!!!" as the kitchen bursts into flames! Perhaps you're not putting enough alcohol into the pan. Try a little more ( no, I do not mean half a bottle....)
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Old 09-10-2006, 02:05 PM   #6
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the recipe i use for 2 servings only calls for 2 tablespoons... so i imagine it won't burn too long.
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Old 09-10-2006, 02:07 PM   #7
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Maybe the alcohol content of your rum is too low?
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Old 09-10-2006, 02:24 PM   #8
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I make this often and have no problem igniting. If you heat the alcohol first, you are giving the alcohol too much chance to dissipate. Ignite the fumes the minute you pour in the rum. You don't need to heat it first. the igniting and burning will do the heating for you.
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Old 09-10-2006, 08:36 PM   #9
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I agree with everyone else, ignite that sucker as soon as the rum hits the pan.

However, I think you need to saute the bananas at a higher temperature. Also, don't add the banana liqueur until you add the rum. This will allow the pan to get hotter. If the pan is hotter, then the alcohol will vaporize and ignite easier, even when you dilute the rum with the banana liqueur.
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Old 09-10-2006, 08:43 PM   #10
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Was your rum old? I don't know if that would have any effect, but its a thought.

More rum would be my first thought. Let us know what you tried and what worked would you please? I'm interested in your solution.
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Old 09-10-2006, 11:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black chef
7. gaze into your date's eyes and tell him/her that you hope they're as good as the dessert.
perhaps the flames are being blown out by hot air?

one more suggesting more rum. also, if you have a mini blow torch, like the kind used to carmelize sugar on creme brulee, try igniting it with that. you're sure to get the flame close enough to the sauce, and there won't be the smell of singed hair from your hands.
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Old 09-11-2006, 12:57 AM   #12
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As I'm sure you're aware, Bananas Foster was invented by Brennan's. Their recipe can be found here:

http://www.brennansneworleans.com/r_bananasfoster.html

The ingredients are identical to yours (except doubled), but the procedures are slightly different. Instead of saying "2 minutes" the recipe directs you to cook the dessert until "the banana sections soften and begin to brown." Depending on what kind of BTU's you're pumping out, this could be longer than 2 minutes. It could be that your recipe has too much residual water from the bananas, banana liquer and butter for the rum to ignite properly. I would go with a fairly low heat and cook it until the bananas are fairly dry/the liquid quite reduced, then add the rum. At a low heat, this might take a while. That's one thing I'd do.

The other aspect involved in flambeeing is that the rum should boil fairly aggressively in order to drive off enough alcohol to ignite. Although the caramelization of the sugar, deglazing and softening of the bananas might work well with lower heat, flambeeing works much better at a higher temp. Once you add the rum, crank up the heat. Keep the bananas moving so they don't stick on/burn. Give the sauce a few moments to bubble, then carefully ignite.


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Old 09-11-2006, 02:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott123
As I'm sure you're aware, Bananas Foster was invented by Brennan's. Their recipe can be found here:

http://www.brennansneworleans.com/r_bananasfoster.html

The ingredients are identical to yours (except doubled), but the procedures are slightly different. Instead of saying "2 minutes" the recipe directs you to cook the dessert until "the banana sections soften and begin to brown." Depending on what kind of BTU's you're pumping out, this could be longer than 2 minutes. It could be that your recipe has too much residual water from the bananas, banana liquer and butter for the rum to ignite properly. I would go with a fairly low heat and cook it until the bananas are fairly dry/the liquid quite reduced, then add the rum. At a low heat, this might take a while. That's one thing I'd do.

The other aspect involved in flambeeing is that the rum should boil fairly aggressively in order to drive off enough alcohol to ignite. Although the caramelization of the sugar, deglazing and softening of the bananas might work well with lower heat, flambeeing works much better at a higher temp. Once you add the rum, crank up the heat. Keep the bananas moving so they don't stick on/burn. Give the sauce a few moments to bubble, then carefully ignite.


great advice... thanks.

i'm sure if i introduce the flame immediately, it'll light-up quicker and burn off.

btw, i sometimes change my recipe by adding in 1/8 teaspoon of pure almond extract AND by tossing-in a handful of pecans.
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Old 09-11-2006, 06:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black chef
great advice... thanks.

i'm sure if i introduce the flame immediately, it'll light-up quicker and burn off.

btw, i sometimes change my recipe by adding in 1/8 teaspoon of pure almond extract AND by tossing-in a handful of pecans.
sort of... "Banana Fosters Cha-cha-cha", eh?
I like it!!!
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Old 09-11-2006, 06:25 PM   #15
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Use high-proof rum and warm it before adding it to the pan.
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Old 09-15-2006, 07:05 PM   #16
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Well, if you can trust the guys at Brennan's to know how to do this properly, here is what I just watched them do as they demonstrated how to do it on FoodTV:

1) He was using a table side gas burner - med-hi to high
2) He was using a frying pan (flared sides) not a sauté pan (straight sides)
3) When he added the banana liquer - he removed the pan from the heat, added the banana liquer to the side of the pan opposite (away from) the handle - then tilted the pan as he slid it back over the flames - flambé #1. Then stirred and cooked for a couple of minutes.
4) He repeated the same process with the rum for flambé #2.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-20-2006, 02:02 PM   #17
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Michael's description matches my memory of the finish of a memorable breakfast my wife and I had at Brennans prior to Katrina. Do have the ice cream very cold or it'll melt too fast when the bannas and sauce meet it. The alcohol has to fire when it hits the pan, before it gets diluted by pan juices, reducing it's proof.
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Old 12-20-2006, 03:03 PM   #18
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EXACTLY what Michael says. The liquer has to be warmed. It has to be able to get to the flame. I flamed some cognac successfully from a straight sided pan--you just have to tilt it.
If you tilt the high sided pan into the flame, it will ignite.
I don't think you want to drive off much alcohol during the cooking--that is what is burned--and the burning is what "drives it off".
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Old 12-20-2006, 03:46 PM   #19
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Flaming your food is very intimidating. Would Smokey do this. Don't burn the house down. etc etc etc.

Actually alcoholic beverages like rum...flame but do not make a great heat temperature and don't burn for long. You get more heat from a candle.

We used rubbing alcohol for our fondue pots. It kept the food warm but nothing cooked or burned.
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