Flaming Banana Splits

Flaming banana split in a pan
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
6 to 8 servings

This recipe is for all of you who need a signature party trick. Having a dinner party? Trying to impress your kids? Leaping flames! Dangerous heat! Cooking on the edge! This showstopper is always a winner.


From Family Meals: 100 Easy Everyday Recipes by Michael Smith. Copyright © Michael Smith, 2014. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Photography credit: Ryan Szulc.



Chocolate Sauce

cups (500 mL) whipping cream
cup (60 mL) cocoa powder
cup (60 mL) brown sugar
Tbsp (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
oz (115 g) bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped
Tbsp (30 mL) rum

Strawberry Sauce

cups (500 mL) frozen strawberries
cup (250 mL) strawberry jam
cup (250 mL) orange juice

Chocolate Whipped Cream

cup (250 mL) whipping cream
Tbsp (30 mL) cocoa powder
Tbsp (15 mL) white sugar
tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

Flaming Bananas

cup (60 mL) butter
cup (125 mL) brown sugar
ripe bananas, halved lengthwise
cup (60 mL) dark spiced rum

Finish and Flourish

Vanilla ice cream
Crunchy chocolate sprinkles
Crumbled vanilla wafers or the like
Maraschino cherries


Step 1

If you haven’t flambéed before, practice beforehand, with a small amount of rum in your pan — without the sugar and bananas — so you’ll know what to expect.

Step 2

Make and chill the sauces first, even days in advance. First, the chocolate sauce. In a small saucepan, measure the cream, cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla. Whisking constantly over medium heat, bring to a slow, steady simmer. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in the rum, then pour into a jar and chill.

Step 3

Next, the strawberry sauce. Toss the strawberries, jam and juice into a small saucepan. Stirring steadily over medium heat, bring to a slow, steady simmer. Remove from the heat and carefully purée the works as smooth as silk with a hand blender. Pour into a jar and chill.

Step 4

When you’re ready for the show, ready the cream. Vigorously whisk the cream, cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla until firm, creamy peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes by hand, less with a mixer. Chill.

Step 5

Now, here’s how to safely flambé a pan of bananas and light a party on fire without an insurance claim. Roll up your sleeves and tie your hair back if it’s long. Turn off your exhaust fan. Have the pan’s lid nearby just in case things get out of hand. Preheat your largest, heaviest skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Toss in the butter. As soon as it begins to melt and sizzle, follow with the brown sugar. Swirl the pan gently as the sugar melts into the butter and begins bubbling here and there. Continue swirling the works for a moment or two, then lay in the bananas, swirling and tossing them in the pan to absorb the flavours. Rum up!

Step 6

Note: If you’re using a gas stove, extend your arm, swing the sizzling pan away from the flame and tilt the far edge of the pan down and away from you. Pour the rum into the bottom corner with the bananas. Keeping your arm extended, tilt the edge of the pan toward the flame until the alcohol ignites.

Step 7

Note: If you’re using an electric stove, pour the rum over the bananas, shaking the pan to spread the alcohol around, and ignite by holding the edge of the pan near a lit candle.

Step 8

Hold steadily as flame and applause erupt. Sauté as the flames die down, a minute or so longer, shaking and shivering (the pan, not you!).

Step 9

Assemble the banana splits any way you care to, because at this point you’re the undisputed kitchen boss! Serve and share!

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