Bananas Foster French Toast with Crisp Plantains and Spicy Candied Walnuts
Chef Scott Boswell’s turn on New Orleans’s famous Bananas Foster stacks spiced French toast with ice cream. The Bananas Foster sauce is poured over the dessert and garnished with spiced candied walnuts, fried plantain, and mint. The addition of cayenne pepper gives these nuts a little bite. The walnuts could be made separately and given as holiday gifts. Save some time at the last minute by softening the ice cream earlier in the day and forming 8 quenelles, then putting the quenelles back in the freezer until ready to use.
- Spicy Candied Walnuts
- Walnuts - 1 cup, toasted
- Boiling Water - 1 quart
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 1 cup
- Peanut Oil - 1 quart
- Cinnamon - 1 tablespoon
- Nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon
- Cayenne Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
- Granulated Sugar - 3 tablespoons
- Kosher salt - 1/2 tablespoon
- Crispy Plantains
- Green Plantains - 1
- Peanut oil (above) - 1 quart
- French Toast
- Eggs - 2
- Half-and-half - 1 cup
- French baguette loaf - 1, or other French-style bread loaf, sliced
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
- Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
- Nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon
- Granulated Sugar - 1 tablespoon
- Bananas Foster Sauce
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 pound (2 sticks)
- Light Brown Sugar - 2 cups
- Cinnamon - 2 teaspoons
- Nutmeg - 1/2 teaspoon
- Banana liqueur - 1/2 ounce
- Light Rum - 2 ounces
- Bananas - 2, peeled and sliced in thin discs
- Vanilla bean ice cream - 1 quart
- Confectioner’s sugar - for dusting
- Mint sprigs - 4
To make the candied walnuts: Place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Place the toasted nuts in a hand-held strainer and submerse in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove and blot dry on a towel. Toss in a bowl with the confectioner’s sugar. Heat the peanut oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan until almost smoking. Working with one half of the nuts at a time, put the nuts back in the strainer and lower into the hot oil for 5 seconds; remove and pour out onto the wire rack. Mix the cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, sugar, and salt together and dust over the hot walnuts. Let cool. Set the oil aside.
To prepare the plantains: Peel the plantain and slice lengthwise into thin strips on a mandoline or V-slicer. Reheat the peanut oil to 370 F. Drop the plantain slices into the hot oil and fry until they become crisp and float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon or wire skimmer and drain on paper towels. Set aside until ready to use.
To prepare the French toast: Place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Mix the eggs and half-and-half in a shallow bowl, whisking slightly to break up the eggs. Soak the bread slices in the egg mixture. Melt the butter in a large non-stick saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the soaked bread slices in the butter until deep golden brown on both sides. Lift with tongs and place on the wire rack. Mix the cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar; dust over the bread. Set aside and keep warm.
To prepare the sauce: Melt the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small saute pan or skillet over medium heat. When bubbling hot, add the liqueur and rum, avert your face, and ignite with a match; shake the pan until the alcohol is burned off and the flame dies down. Add the banana slices and toss until coated. Set aside; keep warm.
To serve: Spoon one tablespoon of sauce in the center of each plate. Lay two pieces of French toast on top of the sauce. Form quenelles of the ice cream and place two on top of the French toast on each plate. Spoon sauce and bananas over the ice cream and French toast. Dust the fried plantains with confectioner’s sugar and stand in the ice cream. Garnish each dessert with candied walnuts and a sprig of mint.