Fat Tuesday is right around the corner. And whether or not you’re planning to avoid rich foods for the 40 days of Lent, you might as well celebrate Mardi Gras with a bang (a.k.a., a bunch of calories).

To get in that Bourbon Street spirit, we decided to turn our most decadent New Orleans-themed dessert into an even more decadent one: Bananas Foster Ice Cream.

Traditional Bananas Foster calls for rum, but we prefer cognac — a brandy made in the Cognac region of France. It adds a nuttier flavor and is a perfect sipping accompaniment to this dessert.

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Bananas Foster Ice Cream
2 bananas, sliced into coins
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cognac
2 cups cream (separated into 1 cup portions)
1 cup half and half
5 egg yolks
¼ cup granulated sugar

Warm a frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and begin to bubble. Add the bananas and allow them to soften in the butter, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and stir a few times to evenly distribute and allow the brown sugar to begin to dissolve into the butter. Carefully add the cognac and ignite with a grill lighter. Carefully swirl the pan until the alcohol cooks off and the fire goes out. Remove from heat and set aside.

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Warm a saucepan over medium heat, then add 1 cup of the cream and the half and half. When the mixture is warm, add the banana mixture and puree using an immersion blender (or carefully add everything to a blender and blend). Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the granulated sugar. Pour the warm banana and cream mixture into the egg yolks in three batches, vigorously whisking as you go. Return the contents to the saucepan and bring the temperature to 165 degrees F (you’ll want to use a candy thermometer, so as to not overcook the custard).

Immediately pour the contents through a sieve (this is optional if you aren’t bothered by a few chunks of banana in the ice cream) into a glass dish or large bowl, and as quickly as possible, add the other 1 cup of cold cream to stop the ice cream base from getting overcooked.

Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 2 hours and then spin in your ice cream maker, following the manufacturers instructions.

Serve with caramel sauce, toasted pecans and a glass of fine cognac (neat).

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