I know you’re wondering what these two things have in common. Well here’s a hint;
Ok so here’s the story.
Several years back we were living just south of Atlanta in a cute little town called Newnan. It was quiet, peaceful and not too far from anything important, like the city, the airport, a William Sonoma. It seemed like the perfect place to settle down. But see that has always been an issue with Mr. Sweet Butter and me; we never really felt that any place we lived felt “right”. We weren’t the kind of people who moved to a new city and bought a house just because some arbitrary unwritten rule deemed that’s just what married people do. We believe living in a new town is like buying a car; you need to test drive it before you decide it’s something you want to invest in a long term contract with.
Well after a couple of years we started too get the antsy pants again. Newnan was a growing city but it just didn’t feel like home. So we started looking at cities that captured our attention and one that peaked our interest was New Orleans Louisiana, Nawlins to the locals.
So we rented a Tahoe and set out for a week in The Big Easy. Now I had heard that the city of the Saints was a lot like New Jersey, people either loved it or hated it, there was very little middle ground. Well I’ll tell you we loved it!!!
What an amazing city. It has an energy about it that is uniquely it’s own. it isn’t something you could really pin point. Whatever it is we just dug it! We loved the smell of the bayou, and the spicy food that permeates the air, the dirt, the grime, the thick smell of alcohol near Bourbon Street, the architecture, narrow streets, the French Market on the waterfront; all of it. I can’t think of one thing we didn’t like about the city. Even the North Shore was growing and upcoming.
It was there, in a little town called Mandeville, we discovered a well known treasure. A little restaurant called “The Broken Egg Cafe” sat but a couple of blocks from the water of Lake. It was here I was first introduced to bananas foster. The sauce was made from scratch daily and customers could get it served over waffles, pancakes or French toast. Waffles were on my ticket that day and it was a breakfast that changed my life. The warm spicy caramel sauce mixed with fresh banana was pure bliss.
“But Tara, I hear you asking, don’t you live in Tampa? If you liked New Orleans so much why didn’t you move there?”
It’s a fair question but one I can only answer with “fate”. Yup, fate.
We left Nawlins completely in love but driving east headed home I couldn’t shake the feeling in my gut that we shouldn’t move there. It is kinda hard to explain but that’s what it was, just a feeling.
We returned home to Newnan and about six months later we found ourselves headed back to Florida and we’ve been here ever since.
It wasn’t a year later Katrina hit the shores of The Big Easy and wiped out the part of Slidel we were looking to move to as well as The Broken Egg. Now don’t get sad, as with much of the area The Broken Egg was restored and I recommend you try them whenever you are around one. The best thing is you don’t have to go to Mandeville, they have several stores throughout the south and according to their website are growing beautifully.
So that’s where I fell in love with New Orleans and bananas foster sauce among other things. You kinda guessed what those little beauties are now I’m sure.
So where does Black Beard fit into this story you ask?
Fast forward six years to September 2010.
With the careful planning of my sister and family, I embarked on my first cruise to celebrate my 40th birthday. With my whole family and several awesome friends, Mr. Sweet Butter, WizKid and myself set out on a seven day Carnival Cruise to Cast Away Key, St.Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk. Fly Boy and Home Run Kid were in Ohio with their pop.
There is much to tell about this trip but for the sake of this story let’s travel to St.Thomas which just happens to be where Black Beard called home.
Sitting high on an hill his meager little tower over looks the port and sprawling town. It’s a very cool little place and amidst the bronze statues of some of the most famous pirates ever to plunder the seas this historic site does something that pirates were famous for, it makes it’s own rum!
“Why is the rum always gone?”
Well Jack it’s not here. You can see how it’s made and pick up bottles of regular rum as well as coconut, mango, spiced and several others for $20.00 a bottle. Just try getting 32 oz of rum for that cheap in the States.
Dad picked me up a bottle of the spiced rum (fate again I think) and it was delivered to the boat.
Hit that fast forward again.
Not long after the cruise I got a hankering for bananas foster and decided to whip up a modified version of Disney’s pineapple bananas foster pudding. I’ll be a monkey uncle when I read the recipe and found it called for one cup of spiced rum.
Other than nearly setting my microwave on fire when I had to burn the alcohol off, it turned out wonderful.
In one bite I was taken to a happy little place where a black tower and tropical sun mingled delightfully with crawfish and Jazz.
I’m going to revisit New Orleans again, hopefully soon. We still haven’t bought a home as after six years Tampa still doesn’t feel like the “it” place. It’s a great town but I feel the call. Who knows where we end up. There are no rules and as long as I have access to the things that matter; a city, an airport and a William Sonoma, all is good.
So this all brings us to the foodie delight at the top of the page.
I created this treat in my head last week but I knew as it slowly took shape it was going to take some time, and it did. But I must say the end result was worth it.
Thanks to Rosie at www.Sweetapolita.com for the Swiss butter cream recipe, you can find detailed instructions here. I made it to her exact instructions and at the very end I added two teaspoons of spiced rum.
There are four things to make here:
- Banana cupcakes
- French pastry cream
- Fosters caramel sauce
- Rum butter cream frosting
Let’s get started!
- 2¼ C. whole milk
- ½ vanilla bean
- 5 egg yolks
- 6 Tbs fine sugar
- ¼ C. all purpose flour
- ⅛ C. corn starch
- 1 C. dark brown sugar
- ½ C. corn syrup
- ½ C. unsalted butter
- 1 C. heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 C. spiced rum (regular rum will do if that’s what you have)
- Courtesy of Rosie at www.Sweetapolita.com (the Cake Queen)
- 5 large egg whites (30g each–total 150g or 5½ Tbs)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1¼ C. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ salt
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- ½ C. heavy cream
- 1½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- ¾ C. sugar
- ½ C. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
- In a medium sauce pan heat the milk and vanilla bean until just to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a separate bowl beat the yolks and sugar until thick and pale yellow then stir in the flour and cornstarch.
- Using a whisk slowly, very slowly temper the egg & sugar mixture with the milk being careful not to cook the egg. Add a little at a time at first to gently raise the temperature of the egg eventually adding all of the milk.
- Pour back into sauce pan and heat slowly on medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. It will take a little bit for the temperature to rise but be patient because once it does it’s going to thicken very quickly. Be sure to whisk vigorously, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent any lumps.
- Once cream is nice and thick, place in container for storage. Before sealing tear off a piece of plastic wrap and lay over the entire top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Store in fridge until needed.
- In a medium fire proof cause pan combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and ½ of the cream and heat to a roiling boil.
- Boil for 9 minutes and add remaining cream. Allow to boil for one minute longer.
- Add the vanilla and rum, let boil for 1 minute. Using a long stemmed match or long lighter flambe the sauce and boil until flames burn out. If you have cabinets or a microwave above your stove tape a sheet of tin foil to the bottom to protect these from melting, fire, scorching or any other really bad possibilities.
- Reduce heat and simmer with a wooden spoon or whisk. Do NOT use a rubber spatula, trust me it’ll melt.
- Set sauce aside and allow to cool. Normally at this stage you would add sliced banana but don’t. This is a lot of sauce that can be stored for quite sometime in the fridge. If you add the banana at this point they will seep liquid if not used right away and the sauce will have a significantly shorter shelf life. The caramel sauce can always be warmed up later and the bananas added as needed.
- Once cool, transfer pan to fridge and allow to chill completely. Yes it will get nice and thick and sticky! Perfect.
- This is sauce can be used to coat apples, cookies etc. It’s almost a kitchen staple.
- Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with vinegar on paper towel, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
- With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool.
- Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continuously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).
- Add vanilla and salt, mix well. Can also add fruit purees, extracts, or other flavorings.
- Tara’s Note: Right here is where you will add 2 tsp. of spiced rum at the end. Mix well and set aside until ready to use. Do not store in fridge.
- Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, re-whipping in mixer for 5 minutes.
- Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks.
- Heat over to 350 degrees (177 C) and line muffin tin with cupcake liners
- Whisk flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl.
- In separate bowl combine the bananas, cream and vanilla.
- In an electric mixer, bet the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Then add egg and egg yolk beating until well blended.
- In three alternating additions add flour and banana mixture, flour, bananas, flour, banana, you get it.
- Divide mixture evenly between muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- In a small bowl swirl 1 C. pastry cream and ¼ C. caramel sauce. You can mix them together but the swirl would be my choice.
- Using a pastry bag and medium tip pipe cream and caramel mixture into the center of each cupcake, cake not to over fill or they will burst. Bad.
- In a separate bowl warm ½ C of the caramel sauce about 7 seconds in the microwave.
- Frost each of the cupcakes with the butter cream and drizzle the caramel sauce over the top. Eat or store in fridge.
- Recipe by: Tara Conklin www.TheButterDish.net