Most of my favorite desserts involve an effortless combination of cream, sugar, and fruit: raspberry zabaglione, strawberries and cream, and fresh peach milkshakes (just to name a few!).  I also find anything topped with caramelized sugar to be completely irresistible – who doesn’t?  For a recent fete, I felt compelled to concoct a new dessert.  I realized that nothing could be better than marrying my two sugary loves into a unique fruit gratin.

Initially, I wanted to use raspberries, crème fraiche, and brown sugar.  When I got to the market, I was extremely disappointed to find that raspberries were out of season, and the amount required to feed eight guests would be prohibitively costly.  Skimming the rest of the produce department, my eyes landed on bananas.  They are deliciously sweet and inexpensive.  Sold!


This spur of the moment decision to substitute bananas for raspberries changed my plan of action.  Pairing bananas with regular crème fraiche would be bland and boring.   By chance, I remembered that my little brother’s favorite childhood snack was bananas dipped in cinnamon sugar.  I decided to whip the traditional spice into the crème fraiche, add a generous splash of dark rum, and voila – my Banana Brown Sugar Gratin was born!  xx tt

Recipe (makes eight servings)


·  6 ripe bananas

·  2 tablespoons cinnamon

·  2 tablespoons dark rum (brandy or calvados would be fine too)

·  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·  2 cups dark brown sugar

·  32 ounces crème fraiche (honestly, full-fat sour cream is perfectly adequate)


·  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

·  Put crème fraiche into your Kitchenaid, or a bowl with electric beaters, and add cinnamon, rum, and vanilla

·  Blend till completely combined on medium speed

·  Pour into 6-8 medium-sized individual ramekins

·  Cut bananas into half-inch slices

·  Arrange one layer of bananas in each ramekin

·  Crumble brown sugar on top, making sure there are no large lumps (you can use a sieve if you are a perfectionist, but totally not necessary)

·  Place ramekins on a baking sheet

·  Bake for 25 minutes

·  Set broiler to high

·  Broil for 5 minutes, or until the brown sugar is bubbly and browned

·  Top with vanilla ice cream and serve