Have you ever visited someplace and felt instant magic? For me, there are a few places like this, one of them being New Orleans. From the food to the architecture, the city is unapologetically doing its own thing. Earlier this month, I was able to sneak in a quick non-work trip to The Crescent City and had a very slight glimpse into the festivities that happen around this time of year. The entire month of February is full of parades and festivals. Planning is critical, and we decided that the first weekend of the month was the best.
I couldn’t even begin to list all of my favorite things about New Orleans, but I can say that if there were a list, food would be number one or two. Altogether southern while being entirely their own, the city has a mix of fine dining as well as crowded little Po’ boy shops. One of my all-time favorites is Elizabeth’s Restaurant, located in the Bywater District. The location is in a quiet neighborhood with a lot of character, great for a post-brunch walk. The menu is colorful and a perfect taste into the flavors of New Orleans. My sister and I ordered a large spread with no intention of finishing everything so that we could nibble on a little bit of it all. Fried Green Tomatoes, Praline Bacon, Biscuits and Gravy, and Cheesy Grits; there is so much worth your time, and that’s not even including the breakfast cocktails.
One of the things I haven’t tried there just yet sadly is the Bananas Foster French Toast. In celebration of Mardi Gras, I decided to make my version as a bake topped with melon ball-sized scoops of vanilla ice cream (or whipped cream, if you’re not completely insane).
This recipe is an excellent addition to a brunch spread, and could also qualify as a dessert outside of Mardi Gras season. A little extra and over the top just like it should be.
Before you go on this adventure, be aware that the recipe does ask you to flambé the bananas. I would recommend taking this part slowly and also keeping the pan lid handy just in case you start to feel a bit overwhelmed. This recipe is only delicious if you have a fully intact kitchen and eyebrows.
Bananas Foster Baked French Toast
- 1 Loaf Crusty artisan loaf ( I prefer sourdough or a french loaf)
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Bananas Foster topping
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 bananas peeled and sliced
- 3 tbsp spiced rum 80-90 proof
Optional (but not really)
- Vanilla bean ice cream for serving
- In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon, and Vanilla. Grease a medium-sized square baking dish or pan with butter. Take your loaf of bread and tear it into chunks, filling your baking dish. Avoid making the bread chunks too small. Once the bread has filled the dish, pour your liquid mixture over the bread, making sure to cover the pieces evenly. Allow resting in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight. Once you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350° F and bake for about 45 minutes.
- Once the French toast is finished, Melt your butter and sugar in a large pan. Add your banana slices and brown on both sides, try not to flip them more than once or your banana slices will start to break up. Make sure the pan lid is near, Remove from heat and add the rum. Using long reach candle lighter carefully light your sauce on fire. Using a long-handled spoon, spoon the flaming sauce over the bananas until it burns out. Pour the sauce over the French toast and dot the top with small scoops of vanilla bean ice cream. Serve immediately.