Not only is this Bananas Foster French Toast very qualified for brunch, it's also an amazing dessert, a weekend indulgence, and the perfect tableside show to impress your family for Father's Day! And to make it even better, top it with our Bourbon Pecan Ice Cream for an extra lit brunch!
Before we continue, I do want to warn and triple warn everyone about setting alcohols ablaze.
***Please be responsible and flambé in an area that's open with adequate space and ventilation and make sure to remove ALL flammable objects or liquids away from the surrounding area. Even though, alcohol does burn at a lower temperature than regular gas fire, it will still catch things on fire. So please be careful and keep your flambé show lit, figuratively!***
Is French toast French?
If you're like me and wonder about the technicality of things, you've probably questioned if French toast actually French. Well, let me relieve you of this mystery. The term "French toast" was first used in England, and one of the earliest version of French toast was actually from the Roman Empire.
In France, French toast is known as "pain perdu" or lost bread. French toast was known as "lost bread" because it's made out of breads that have gone stale. So, I guess the answer to this question is no. French toast is not french.
Do I need stale bread for French toast?
Just because stale breads were repurposed back in the days to make French toast doesn't mean you have to wait for your bread to stale! Although, stale bread may give french toasts a tad better texture and soak up extra custard, I don't think it's worth the extra few days of waiting. But if you've got leftover bread that's gone stale, why not?
What kind of bread should I use for French toast?
You can use any bread for plain ol' French toast. For some amazing French toasts, I highly recommend using challah, brioche, or at your last resort, Texas toasts. Both challah and brioche are spongey, rich, and soaks up the custard really well while holding they structure. But hey, if you're Texas toast is all ya got, we don't judge! Just make sure the bread is about 1 inch thick for the best experience!
And here's an easy brioche loaf recipe if you decide to make your French toasts extra special!
Can I make the custard for my French toast ahead of time?
Absolutely! Feel free to make your custard base the day before, up to 3 days ahead of time. Make sure to cover your custard base while it's unused and whisk it before using. Same goes with if you have leftover custard base.
How long should I soak my French toast?
This topic is a long time debate, and I think this is honestly up to personal preference. In my opinion, the bread should be soaked on both sides for about 5 seconds each. It's just enough time for the custard to get soaked up and turn my bread into a custard sponge. Sometimes, I'd feel generous enough to give each side of my bread a gentle press to soak up a little more custard, but no more.
Other recipes may recommend soaking your bread for at least 15-30 minutes to really soak up the custard. I really think that's an overkill because I'm not the biggest fan of soft French toast. But it's really up to personal preference.
Some more tips on making French toasts:
- Preheat your pan. Similar to cooking many other stovetop items, preheating your pan is important when you want to start the cooking process immediately. A cold pan will give your French toast time to release the custard, and you'll get a pool of custard.
- Cook the French toasts on medium low heat. The other trick to ensure that your French toasts are not soggy or raw in the middle is to cook on medium low heat. The low heat cooks the interior custard without burning the exterior.
- From all our experience, our French toasts are always cooked through and perfectly golden brown on the outside if each side gets about 3-4 minutes of cooking.
- Thoroughly whisk the custard. I think one, besides a soggy French toast, eggy French toasts are next in line of no buenos. If your eggs are not thoroughly whisked into your custard, your French toasts are going to to have bits and pieces of scrambled eggs stuck to them. No thanks.
- Use whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream. I recommend using milk with full fat or half and half and heavy cream. Dairy products with more fat content makes better and creamier custards. Nonfat milk is too watery for amazing French toasts.
What is Bananas Foster?
Bananas Foster is a classic dessert traditionally made of bananas, rum, banana liqueur, brown sugar, and butter and topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was invented by Chef Paul Blangé of Brennan's Restaurant in New Orleans and have been a much requested tableside service because of its flambé extravaganza.
Now, if you're wondering how "Foster" made its way to "Bananas", you're not alone! In the 1950's Chef Blangé was challenged by his employer, Owen Brennan, to make a dessert featuring bananas. Why? Because New Orleans, at the time, was a major port for banana shipped from Central and South America. And little did they know, their banana dessert went down in history! In an amazing way! The dessert was later named after Richard Foster who served in New Orleans Crime Commission along side Owen.
If you're interested in a little more detail, you can find it here.
What kind of liquor can I use for Bananas Foster?
Traditionally, rum is used for Bananas Foster, but you can literally use any dark liquor to substitute it. Depending on what we have around the house, we go from scotch to bourbon and sometimes cognac. The main purpose of the liquor is mostly for the flambé show while also thinning out the caramel sauce and aromatizing it.
The other alcohol included in this recipe is a flavored liqueur. Normally, a banana liqueur would be used to enhance the banana flavor, but feel free to experiment. We are in love with using some pecan praline liqueur to give classic the Bananas Foster a little twist.
What is flambé? How do you flambé properly?
Flambé is simply a French term for when alcohol is ignited briefly.
Although there's no "right" way to do a flambé, there are safety precautious to follow.
- First, take the pan OFF of the fire.
- Tilt the pan towards yourself to collect all the sauces/ liquids to one side of the pan.
- Quickly tilt the pan in the opposite direction and pour in the liquor.
- The point is to prevent as much sauce/ liquid from mixing with the liquor so that it'll ignite. If some gets mixed into the liquor it'll be okay.
- Put the pan back onto the flame, tilting the side with the liquor into the flame to ignite the liquor.
- Pull the pan back to distribute the liquor and the flame. Shake the pan back and forth if needed.
- DO NOT attempt to stir the content until the flame dissipates. The flame will be pretty high. So just enjoy the show!
Do I have to add bananas to my Foster sauce?
No! You do not have to add any bananas to the Foster sauce. Personally, I prefer my bananas less cooked. So sometimes, I'll just add the bananas after I've flambé just to coat my bananas in some sauce. Or I'll do without adding the bananas to the sauce, period. Instead, I'd brûlée the bananas for some extra crunch and texture.
To brûlée the bananas:
Cut the bananas per the recipe (halved then split) and arrange banana halves flat side up. Generously sprinkle granulated sugar on the flat sides of the banana then torch the bananas with a blow torch to caramelize the sugar until golden brown. Let the sugar cool before adding to your French toasts!
If you're looking for some nice pairings for this scrumptious Bananas Foster French Toast or other dessert or brunch indulgence, definitely check these out:
- Bourbon Pecan Ice Cream (totally gave our Bananas Foster French Toast something extra special)
- Easy Brioche Loaf Recipe (made the best French toasts ever!)
- Jiggly Japanese Soufflé Pancakes
- Easy Red Wine Sangria
Cook with love!
If you’ve made this recipe or any recipe from our blog, please tag us on Instagram @twoplaidparons! We would love to see your creations! It absolutely makes our day! 🥰
Bananas Foster French Toast
For the French toast:
For the Bananas Foster:
- 3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¾ cup brown sugar (light or dark)
- ¼ cup flavored liqueur (classically banana liqueur, but we used praline liqueur)
- ¼ cup dark liquor (classically dark rum, but we used bourbon)
- 2 ripe banana (or as many as you'd like)
- 4 scoops ice cream (vanilla or try our Bourbon Pecan Ice Cream)
For the French toast:
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon until thoroughly combined. Soak each slice of bread, both front and back, in the custard mix. Gently press on the bread to help them absorb more liquid.
- Preheat a non-stick pan, with a Tablespoon of butter on medium low heat. Place two slices of the soaked bread into the pan and sear on medium low heat until both sides are golden brown and slightly crispy, about 3-4 minutes per side. The interior should be cooked through by the time both sides gets crispy and colored.Remove the French toasts and repeat with remaining slices of bread. Keep warm.*While cooking the rest of the toasts, you can keep your French toasts hot by tenting them with some foil. You could also speed up the process by using a griddle.*
For the Bananas Foster:
- Peel and cut the bananas in half then split them long ways to create 8 pieces of split banana. Set aside.
- In a large pan over medium heat, add the butter and brown sugar. Let the mixture melt while occasionally stirring it to incorporate.Once the butter is melted and the sugar has mostly dissolved, add the flavored alcohol. Cook until the mixture is bubbly and well combined, stirring occasionally. Add the banana halves to the sauce and glaze the bananas a few times to coat.
- ***PLEASE make sure that you have sufficient space and ventilation and clear ALL flammable objects from the area before following this step!***Move the pan off the heat and tilt the pan towards yourself to gather the sauce onto one side. Quickly but smoothly, tilt the pan in the opposite direction and pour your preferred dark liquor into the side of the pan without the sauce. Carefully place your pan back onto the heat, tilting the side with the dark liquor into the flame*. Once the liquor ignites, you can pull your pan back and flambé your sauce by shaking the pan back and forth. DON'T try to stir with a utensil because the flame will be quite high! Wait until the flames die off.*The liquor will only ignite if there's a flame. So if you have an electric stovetop, you can light your liquor by tilting the pan as instructed above and light it with a torch or stick lighter. Pull away quickly once the alcohol ignites!*If you prefer to do without the flambé show:Simply add the dark liquor of your choice into the sauce after adding the flavored liqueur and cook the sauce until no more alcohol smell remains.
- While the sauce is hot, divide the sauce and bananas amongst the 4 servings of French toasts. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream or our bourbon pecan ice cream to complete it all!Enjoy!