From America's Test Kitchen Season 4: New Orleans Menu
Although the New Orleans dessert bananas Foster is quick and simple, with few ingredients (butter, brown sugar, rum, and bananas), things can go wrong. Sometimes the bananas are overcooked and mushy. Or the sauce can be too thin, overly sweet, or taste too strongly of alcohol. We wanted to fix these issues and come up with a quick, reliable dessert with tender bananas and a flavorful but not boozy sauce.
First we kept the amounts of butter and brown sugar in check—most recipes use a high ratio of butter to brown sugar, which makes for a thin, greasy sauce. For the rum, we found that a small amount was just enough to impart a definite rum flavor without turning the dessert into a cocktail. We decided to add some rum to the sauce and use the rest to flambé the bananas. We also enhanced the sauce with a little cinnamon and lemon zest, which added some complexity. As for the bananas, we cooked them in the sauce until soft, flipping them over halfway through cooking so they turned out tender, not mushy.
While the bananas cook, scoop the ice cream into individual bowls so they are ready to go once the sauce has been flambéed. Before flambéing, make sure to roll up long shirt sleeves, tie back long hair, turn off the exhaust fan (otherwise the fan may pull the flames up) and turn off any lit burners (this is critical if you have a gas stove).