One of my all time favorite places on earth is Charleston, South Carolina. My love affair began with the city on my honeymoon there, 14 years ago. We were not planning to visit Charleston. We had high hopes of sitting on a beach in the Caribbean. But I was in a serious car accident right before our wedding and my injuries prevented us from traveling far.
What started out as a disappointment, became one of our best memories ever. For those of you who have visited Charleston, SC, you know EXACTLY what I am talking about. For those of you who have not been as fortunate to visit the city, think about a clean town right on a waterway with million dollar historic homes lining the streets. And the food–oh my!! Nothing I have ever eaten in Charleston has been a disappointment to me–and being that I am now just 3 hours from this town filled with Southern charm, I visit whenever I have a chance.
A little over a year ago, my husband and I took a weekend trip there just the two of us and stayed at this fabulous historic hotel. Everything about our stay was glorious, but what I remember most was the breakfast at the inn. I ordered Eggs Benedict and it was out of this world, but my husband ordered Bananas Foster French Toast, and ever since I stole a bite of his breakfast, I have dreamt about that dish.
So when I heard Sunday Supper was sharing Mardi Gras recipes, I just knew it was the perfect excuse for me to try to recreate this dish. After all, Bananas Foster is known as a classic New Orleans recipe! Plus I wanted the excuse to practice and practice this recipe so I could eat it over and over again 😉
As my french toast bakes, I use the same skillet to make the bananas foster for topping my french toast. It is really just sauteeing bananas in caramel and then adding rum and lighting on fire to allow the alcohol to burn off. Of course adding rum is optional, it is very traditional.
While I was not sitting in the Library of the Vendue Inn enjoying my scrumptious brunch by the East Bay in Charleston, I am now able to dream about the my experience there in the comfort of my screened in back porch. And until my next visit, I am happy to do just that.i
- 1 16 ounce loaf of challah bread, cut into 1 inch thick slices (about 12 slices)
- 6 eggs
- ½ cup half and half or milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons of butter, divided
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 underripe bananas, sliced in 1 inch slices on a bias
- ¼ cup dark rum, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla together. Dip each slice of bread into egg mixture and flip and soak other side.
- Preheat skillet (do not use a nonstick skillet if flambeing rum later) over medium heat and add in 1 tablespoon butter. Once butter is melted, brown each slice of french toast for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and place on baking sheet and place in oven while making the bananas foster sauce--about 15 minutes.
- Melt remaining butter in same skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side.Remove bananas from pan to a serving dish. Bring sauce to a simmer and carefully add the rum, if using. If the sauce does not immediately flame up, carefull ignite sauce with a stick lighter. Cook until flame dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
- To serve, place 2 slices of the french toast on a plate, top with a few slices of bananas and then a bit of the syrup.
Trust me when I say, this is one dish you will be craving over and over again yourself. It is a bit more decadent than my traditional recipes, but it is worth the splurge every once in a while!