Banana Brulee Butter
What is Banana Brulee Butter? It's like jam, sort of. It's like bananas foster, sort of. It's like caramel sauce, sort of.
It's like...well, it's like heaven in a jar.
The brown sugar lends a rich caramel flavor to this delightful and unusual preserve, while the tiny Tahitian vanilla seeds add depth and character. One of my favorite things about this recipe? I get to use up all those bananas that went south too fast here in the South. (Can someone please remind me that fruit ripens at the speed of light here along the gulf coast and to not buy large bunches of bananas any more?)
This recipe is totally and completely the fault of my sister-in-law, Maryann. She told me about some jar of some banana something or another she had picked up at her favorite little shop in town and asked me if I could make something like it. I am not sure if this is anything like it, but it sure is deelish-us!
Banana Brulee Butter Recipe:
4 c. smashed bananas (about 11 fully ripe)
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 tsp. EVER-FRESH fruit protector (optional)
1 box SURE-JELL pectin
1/2 tsp. butter
4 c. granulated sugar, measured into a separate bowl
2 c. brown sugar, measured into bowl with granulated sugar
1 Tahitian vanilla bean
BRING boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
SMASH the bananas thoroughly using a fork. Measure exactly 4 cups of banana into 6- or 8-quart pot. Stir the lemon juice and fruit protector into prepared fruit in pot.
SPLIT the vanilla bean in half with a sharp knife. Scrape out the seeds and add to banana mixture in pot. Place cleaned pod in pot as well.
STIR the pectin into banana mixture in pot. Add butter to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.
STIR in all of the sugar quickly. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly - this recipe burns easily so don't step away! Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon. Remove vanilla pod & discard.
LADLE quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids and screw bands finger tight. Place jars on a rack in canner, making sure water covers jars by 1-2". Bring to a boil, cover, and then process 5 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
Here's all the good stuff. Bananas. Sugar. Lemon juice. Drunken vanilla beans. And pectin. (I didn't have any vanilla beans that were loose so I fished one out of the vanilla that has been aging in the back of my cupboard for the last couple of weeks. WOW - the seeds came right out and were so tasty!)
Smash the bananas with a fork. I cut away any bruised parts. Remember, preserving fruits doesn't make them magically of a higher quality. The quality of your preserves depends on the quality of the fruit.
Always use a bottled lemon juice when making jams and jellies - the acid levels are more uniform and will give you a more predictable result. Another helpful hint: Hide the bottle of lemon juice in the very back of the fridge behind the broccoli so your sons don't drink it all.
I know the recipe says to pour the bananas into the pan first, then add the lemon juice, but I usually forget to do something and need a few extra minutes to prep. I just pour the lemon juice over the bananas to keep them from getting brown, do what I need to do, and then come back to them.
All better now! The banana and lemon juice are in the pot. Now add some fruit preserver, if you want. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don't. It doesn't seem to affect it either way...which begs the question, why do I add it at all?
Stir in the pectin.
Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I found you! And to think you were swimming around in the rum in the back of my cupboard this whole time, you bad little bean. (Don't worry Ma, I am not drinking the rum, just making vanilla. Really. I promise). Now get your goodness into that pot, you lovely Tahitian vanilla bean!
I supposed one doesn't have to use a Tahitian vanilla bean but then they would miss out on the dark, chocolately floral notes of the glorious Tahitian bean. Some Indian beans are rather nice in jams, though. Vanilla from India tends to have more of a cherry flavor like a Bourbon. I don't think I would ever use a Mexican vanilla bean because their flavor profile is so bold, but that's just me. Experiment and see what you like best.
-Unbeknownst to most, happiness can be measured by the amount of vanilla beans you have.-
Oh man, this is where it starts smelling good in the kitchen.
Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over a high heat. DO NOT step away to answer the phone. You will regret it. Trust me.
Add in the sugar to the boiling bananas all at once. This is the part where your seven year old calls from the other room, "Mom!! What is it that you are cooking? It smells like heaven again in this house!" Then he wanders in all dreamy eyed and leans his head on your hip, "Mom, I think I will stand right here forever."
Return the mixture to a rolling boil and boil for one minute. DO NOT stop stirring, even if it is your husband calling you on Skype and you haven't talked to him in a day. The husband is much more forgiving than the banana brulee butter.
Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/8" headspace. Wipe the rims and threads. Place two piece lids in place and tighten finger tight (not too tight - you want the air to escape!)
Bring canner to a boil and cover. Process for 5 minutes. Remove and immediately tighten rings. Let cool in an upright position.
At this point, you may need to hide it from your children and spouse if you are wanting any of it for yourself. Or, you can just plan on making it once every week or so. After all, what else are you going to do with all those bananas that are on the edge?
(This stuff is great on French Toast. Or toast. Or a spoon. I imagine it would be good on ice cream, too, but we have never had it around long enough to try!)