Put A Twist On Classic Bananas Foster With Different Fruit Varieties

What is bananas Foster? The classic dish starts with flambéed banana slices in a sweet rum sauce and finishes with nuts and vanilla ice cream. If it helps, think of it like a hot banana split. You could serve bananas Foster in numerous ways, such as atop French toast and pancakes or alongside other favorite desserts. Now that we've established a basic understanding of this dessert, we think you should swap out the bananas with different varieties of fruit. You might feel like taking bananas out of banana Foster would be completely contradictory, but hear us out.

While you obviously can't have bananas Foster without bananas, we're focusing on the method in which the dish is made, flambeéing your fruit of choice of rum or other alcohols. For example, flambé peaches in bourbon and serve it on top of your favorite ice cream or pie. You could also flambé plums in your favorite red wine. By opening up the possibilities of simple bananas Foster by changing the fruit and alcohol, you could create a blueberry Foster, a peach Foster, or even a pineapple Foster — whatever suits you best.

There's some fascinating science behind the combination of fruit, alcohol, and flame. For instance, cooking fruits like bananas and peaches in rum, whiskey, or other types of alcohol enhances the taste.

Cooking fruit makes it taste sweeter

Here's an experiment for you to try. First, choose your favorite apple variety and cut it in half. Eat half raw and note how it tastes. Then, sauté the other half in a saucepan and eat it. Chances are, you'll find the cooked apple has a much sweeter taste than the raw apple. This is because the cooking process amplifies the fruit's natural flavor by heating and releasing its sugars.

Since cooking the fruit is enough to improve its flavor, why add alcohol? While it's true that not all fruits and alcoholic drinks go together as well as some combinations do, fruits are often paired with alcohol because their flavors complement one another. Bananas, as in the case of bananas Foster, complements a rum sauce because the light, sweet flavor of the banana pairs well with rum's toasted brown sugar notes. The fruits also get another dose of flavor from absorbing the alcohol, making them taste sweeter, more floral, or richer than their raw counterparts.

Of course, you can also combine more than one type of fruit for your "Foster" dessert. You don't need any precise recipes or measurements, either. The beauty of a Foster is how it can use practically any alcohol or fruit you have on hand. The rest is up to your tastebuds. 

Use your creativity and tastebuds to create a unique twist on bananas Foster

Whether you like peaches and bourbon more than bananas and rum is based on your personal tastes. However, the trifecta of fire, alcohol, and various types of fruit create a broad canvas for you to explore and experiment with different combinations. 

For example, if you have strawberries, mango, bananas, rum, and apple juice, you can make a tropical fruit flambé. If you dislike mango, that's perfectly fine. Substitute mangoes for pineapples or replace the apple juice with orange juice, then add coconut shavings for texture. Any fresh fruit you have on hand can make a fantastic Foster-inspired dessert. Is it summer, and you have a lot of berries? A great choice. Is it autumn, and you have a lot of apples and pears? Those will work just fine too. This dessert is fantastic for highlighting seasonal produce

Switching up the alcohol is another option to deviate from traditional bananas Foster. If you have — and enjoy drinking — rum, its versatility can work with lots of fruit. However, if you only have some leftover bourbon, vodka, or whiskey, feel free to use them instead. The key to making a good Foster is to explore different combinations and flavors rather than relying on one recipe. Don't even get us started on the possibilities for the ice cream topping.