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Bananas Foster a la Zola

Recipe: Bananas Foster a la Zola

Remarks:

    See the asterisk below for a way to make Zola's Bananas Foster without liquor.

Servings:
Serves 4

Ingredients:

    1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau liqueur*
    1/2 cup dark rum*
    4 ripe bananas, sliced lengthwise and then cut in half so they are quartered
    4 Tbl butter
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 tsp banana flavoring
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    Sprinkle of ground nutmeg
    Ice cream (Flavor options include traditional vanilla, butter pecan, chocolate, banana or you choose.)

Instructions:

    Measure the Grand Marnier and rum into one single cup and set aside.*

    In a large sauté pan on low heat, melt the butter and add the brown sugar, banana flavoring and cinnamon. Stir to melt the sugar mixture and then add the bananas. Gently toss the melted sugar mixture over the bananas. All you are doing is coating the bananas with your caramel mixture and heating them up. You don't want them to get too mushy and you don't want the caramel to overcook too much or it will get crusty pieces in it. (If you do get crusty pieces, it's not all bad. They taste great.)

    Now, for the interesting part. What I do is push the bananas over to the side. TURN OFF THE HEAT--ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A GAS STOVE!!! Pour in the liquor mixture. Now you're going to light it. The easiest way to do this is with one of those new long candle lighters. You can also use a match and hold it with a tongs or you can use a long fireplace match. In any case, BE CAREFUL. As you approach the pan, be ready for it to light. With the candle lighter turned on, as you get close to the liquor, it is bound to bounce into flame (even about 6 inches away from the pan!) and the flames will shoot up about 6 inches above the pan. It's a pretty dramatic sight. Just let the flames burn for a bit. Everyone watching can say Ooh and Ahh. The flames will start to jump around again as you stir the liquor, so put on your oven mitt for safety and DO NOT be tempted to stick your nose in for a smell. You're bound to catch your hair or your moustache on fire!

    (*If you don't cook with liquor, you can instead use 1/4 cup orange juice and 2 teaspoons rum flavoring and 1/2 cup water. Skip the flaming process. Just stir, heat, and serve over ice cream.)

Serving Suggestions:

    When the flames subside, you're ready to serve. Put the ice cream into pretty bowls and pour the banana mixture on top. Sprinkle on nutmeg (optional).

Enjoy!

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