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Campfire Hazelnut Cherry Bananas Foster with French Toast and Whipped Cream

Campfire Hazelnut Cherry Bananas Foster with French Toast and Whipped Cream

A Taste of Wild - Pacific Northwest

Jon Moore and Aubrey Gigandet bring you restaurant-worthy recipes you can make on the road, inspired by their travels in the Pacific Northwest.

Campfire Hazelnut Cherry Bananas Foster with French Toast and Whipped Cream

Legend has it that this dish started in New Orleans in the 1950s.  And I guess it wandered and wove and wound its way up through the Southwest and past the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest, where it found Jon and me on a Saturday among the pines. 

I’ve always loved Bananas Foster, ever since my dad pointed them out to me in a restaurant when I was thirteen. But something about that smoke-soaked sunlight streaming through the timbers gave that pan a little extra sizzle and those bananas a little extra color and that French toast a little extra fluff and those hazelnuts a little extra crunch. Serve with whipped cream.

INGREDIENTS

Bananas Foster ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried or fresh cherries
  • 2 bananas
  • 6 tablespoons rum, 100 proof

French toast ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/8 cup water
  • Pinch of salt

Whipped cream ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

COOKING TOOLS

  • Medium cast-iron pan
  • Cooking spoon
  • Mitten
  • Heat pad
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Whisk
  • 2 Medium Bowls

METHOD

Make the whipped cream. Whisk 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar until fluffy. Guard it with your life, because everybody will try to sneak a taste while you cook.

For the French toast, whisk together the egg, cream, water and salt. Protip: You can make this mixture ahead and keep it in a jar in your fridge if you’re short on prep space. Soak your bread in the mixture. For bonus points, use bread that’s a little stale. It’ll soak more of the mixture.

Place an 8” cast-iron pan on the coals of the fire, and add in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Wait until it’s hot, and then sear your French toast. Plate.

Peel the bananas and cut them lengthwise. Slice each half into four, for a total of sixteen pieces.

In a medium cast-iron over coals, melt the butter with the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Test by dipping a spoon in the sauce. When it’s ready, it’ll coat the back.

Add the bananas, hazelnuts and dried cherries to the sauce, and then toss them until they are coated. Remove the pan from heat. (Optional: pour in the rum. Carefully place the pan back on the heat and step back, as it may jump up in flames. It’s super important to remove the pan from the fire before adding the alcohol. Rum is flammable, and you’ll look goofy without any eyebrows. But do it right, and you’ll get the “oohs” and “ahhs” you deserve.)

Cook for three more minutes. You’re looking for the flames to burn out and the bananas to be tender.

Pour over French toast and add whipped cream.

Chow down.

*When working on the coals of the fire, you can use a long match stick to sort of help the process along and ignite the alcohol from the bananas foster sauce. No judgment here.

Yields 2 servings.