Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bananas Anna

To download the recipe for Bananas Anna, click HERE.

We recently featured a recipe for Pommes Anna, the classic side dish made from sliced potatoes that have been arranged as layered petals, brushed with olive oil, seasoned with thyme and rosemary, sprinkled with grated parmesan, and baked to glorious deliciousness.

That got me thinking: Why should potatoes have all the fun?

From this beginning comes this week’s recipe: Bananas Anna, a new dessert made from sliced bananas that have been arranged as layered petals, brushed with a mixture of brown sugar and melted butter substitute, seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg, sprinkled with toasted coconut flakes, set on a graham cracker crust, baked to glorious deliciousness and graced with dark rum sauce. Just as important, “Bananas Anna” sounds really cool when you say it out loud.

Think of it as a Pommes Anna parody you can eat for dessert.

This recipe makes six servings.

First, let’s make our graham cracker crust.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

While the oven is preheating, make 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs by rolling or crushing about 8 low-fat graham crackers. (Avoid the cinnamon kind; we’ll be adding our own cinnamon and you don’t want to overdo it!)

In a bowl, combine the crumbs with 3 Tbsp sugar; 3 Tbsp plus 2 tsp butter substitute, melted and warm; a pinch of ground cinnamon; and a pinch of ground nutmeg, and mix well. The finished batter should have the consistency of wet sand.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicon pad, spread the batter out to a little more than 1/8” thick. (You’ll just need to make sure it’s larger than the pan you’ll be using to cook the bananas.) Press down using fingers or the flat bottom of a glass.

Bake for until light brown and firm to the touch, about 12 minutes, and set aside to cool.

While the graham cracker crust is cooling, we’ll make the  brown sugar sauce.

Melt ½ cup of firm-textured butter substitute in a small saucepan over low heat. Add 6 Tbsp of brown sugar and stir till dissolved.

Add ¾ tsp cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and ¼ tsp salt, and stir until combined. Remove from the heat and set aside till needed.

Next come the bananas.

Increase the oven to 400 degrees. Use the heating oven to lightly toast ¾ cup of shredded coconut.

Using a brush, coat the inside of an 8” non-stick pan with some of the brown sugar sauce.

We’ll do four bananas, working one at a time. Peel a banana and cut into 1/8” slices.

Place one of the slices in the center of the pan. Working around the first banana slice, arrange the next slices in an overlapping pattern.

Repeat with the next banana slices, working around the edge in an overlapping pattern. (Be careful when arranging the slices. Since the finished dessert will be turned upside-down for serving, this bottom layer will eventually be the top, so it should be done very neatly.)

Brush this layer lightly with some of the brown sugar sauce.

Repeat the above for the remaining bananas, brushing each layer and sprinkling coconut over every second layer, until all have been used. When done, press down gently to compress the banana cake slightly.

Turn the heat on to medium, and let the bananas sear till browned on the bottom, usually five to six minutes. Using a soft spatula, gently go around the edges of the pan to loosen the cooked banana cake. Place a plate or small baking sheet face down on top of the pan.

Turn the dish and the pan over together to turn the banana cake upside down, so that what was the bottom has now become the top.

Carefully remove the pan.

Gently slide the banana cake onto the graham cracker crust.

Using a knife, trim around the edges of the crust to remove any excess. Place the baking sheet with the banana cake into the oven till heated through, 5 – 10 minutes.

While the banana cake is heating, combine 1-1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar; 2 Tbsp dark rum; and 4 Tbsp skim milk to form the rum sauce.

Once the banana cake is out of the oven, garnish it with any remaining toasted coconut.

To serve:

Use a squeeze bottle to apply some of the glaze to a serving plate. Place a slice of the banana cake on top to serve. Serve warm.

To download the recipe for Bananas Anna, click HERE.

You can enjoy Bananas Anna as both an after-meal dessert and on its own as a light treat! (I also think it would make an especially fantastic surprise finish to a meal that included a Pommes Anna side dish.)

Visit again next week for another kitchen-tested, home-cook friendly recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. Hmmm, flipping is kinda scaring me.. I know I would love this. How can you go wrong with rum, bananas and brown sugar? Need rum, dang..

    1. Thanks, Kim. Turning the banana cake over turns out to be pretty easy. In fact, using a plate to turn something in a pan over is a method I learned from my mother who, though a great mother, would even today tell you she's not a cook. It's important that there be no excess melted butter in the pan when you do it, but since we brushed the butter-sugar mixture on that shouldn't be a problem here. And I'm with you on the wonderful way rum, bananas and brown sugar get along with each other. (Just for a little extra boost, I made mine with 151 rum. ;-) )

  2. is there an alternative to the rum? i don't use alcohol in my cooking or social life.

    1. Thanks, Grinelda. The rum sauce is a nice touch but it's not really essential to making this work well. I could see anything that goes well with bananas being good here too; a drizzle of chocolate sauce, for example.