Bruleed Bananas

by brookefiore

Autumn brought us burning ambers, oranges, and reds in the form of foliage and sunsets. Winter brings us lively and curious cardinals, stark charcoal colored skies and the shortest day of the year. Sometimes it’s hard to see the beauty in winter when trudging from car to store and work to home, dangers of black ice and frigid slushy puddles act as annoyances and sheer inconvenience. But beyond the grocery store and winter farmer’s market doors lie the fruits of the winter season, which must not be forgotten.

I’ve always enjoyed the idea of fruit for dessert. Especially in the dark and cold winter months when the pink and orange hues of a grapefruit are all one needs to remember that warmer days will come again. And pomegranate seeds shine like rubies once harvested from their flesh, pairing nicely with dark chocolate. I will be the first to admit however, bananas are not one of the fruits that first comes to mind for holiday dessert.

Enter here, the winter edition of Fine Cooking magazine. It was as if Christmas had come early, page after page of the most savory and sweet dishes utilizing the freshest ingredients. I quickly became overwhelmed, I wanted to make every entree and dessert that lined the glossy pages. I chose one of the most intriguing, bruleed bananas. Reminiscent of Banana’s Foster, this recipe evoked memories of dinners at a good friend’s house when his mother would whip up this dessert, border-lining on magical, at a mere moment’s notice. The flavors were rich and warming all at the same time.

This recipe for bruleed bananas, similar to Bananas Foster, sounds complex, and particularly fancy, but in fact, requires little culinary skill and will be sure to amaze your taste buds and dinner guests alike. 

Vanilla Greek yogurt adds a bit of tartness and creaminess, and allows for the sweetness of caramelized brown sugar to take center stage. By taking the extra step to toast the walnuts ahead of time, the layers of flavor in this dessert become complex and restaurant-worthy.

Bruleed Bananas

Serves 2

1 ripe banana, split in half lengthwise

1-2 TBSP dark brown sugar

1-2 TBSP chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

4 oz non fat vanilla Greek yogurt

The toasting of the walnuts can be done ahead of time if needed. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Chop the walnuts and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Cook for about 8 minutes and allow to cool before transferring to an air tight container.

Start by moving an oven rack to the highest position, just beneath the broiler. Turn the broiler on and wrap a broiling pan tightly with aluminum foil. Peel and slice the banana in half lengthwise and place on foil lined pan, cut side up. Sprinkle with dark brown sugar and cook for about 2 minutes or until the sugar is bubbling but not burnt. Remove from oven, transfer to serving plates, add a dollop or two of greek yogurt and sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Serve immediately. 

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