Citrus Rum Banana Desert Sauce

When I was in graduate school I dated a man who had two fool-proof recipes to impress a new girlfriend: chicken cordon bleu and a delicious citrusy banana sauce he served for desert over ice cream. Over 20 years later, the one I still long for is the banana sauce – it was a wonderful combination of sweet and tart – but I have no idea how he made it. The only thing I really remember is that he used some kind of citrus juice, bananas and (this was the really weird ingredient – but trust me, it works) dijon mustard.

I’ve been wondering about this recipe for a while, and so I finally bought some bananas and experimented with a recipe. I wasn’t sure at first how it would turn out, but with some tweaking, I wound up really happy with the result. I started by caramelizing a banana in just a little butter (only about 1 tsp. in a non-stick pan) and a drizzle of honey. Then I added freshly-squeezed lemon and orange juice and some dijon mustard. This was awfully tart and the mustard taste started off too strong so I added extra honey, which helped to mellow the flavors. Finally, I added just a little bit of rum toward the end (and then let the alcohol boil off), which pulled everything together.

I have no idea how this compares to the original, but I was sold. I wound up with a nice thick sauce that was relatively tart for those times when I want a little desert but nothing too sweet. I served it over good vanilla ice cream (I like Haagen-Dazs “Five” Vanilla Bean – it contains only milk, cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla bean).

In a small non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt:

  • 1 tsp. unsalted butter

When melted, add to the pan:

  • 1 banana, sliced
  • drizzle the banana with honey (preferably local)

Cook, stirring constantly, until the banana is caramelized.  Add to the pan:

  • juice from 1 orange
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1-2 Tbsp. honey (to taste)

Stir to combine. Continue cooking until the sauce is reduced and very thick (the sauce should stay separated in the pan when you pull a wooden spoon through it). If the banana gets too soft, remove it from the pan. If you do so, add it back in at the last minute so that it is heated through with the rest of the sauce. Once the sauce is thickened, add to the pan:

  • 1 ounce (2 Tbsp.) dark rum

Continue to cook until the sauce is thickened again. Add the bananas back to the pan if you removed them earlier.  Allow to cool slightly so the sauce continues to thicken a little more. Serve over ice cream.

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