Flambeing with Alcohol

Using alcohol to flambe

As the name suggests, flambeing is a process of "flaming" off alcohol by igniting it. As opposed to boiling off alcohol, flambeing caramelizes the sugar in the liquor slightly, producing a subtle, sweet, roasted aroma. It also makes a very dramatic presentation of dishes.

To flambe a dish, make sure that your clothing, kitchen towels, and pot holders are out of the way. Have at the ready a lid that fits tightly over your pan, and use a hot pan over high heat (a pan just used for sauteing is the perfect temperature). Add 1/2 to 1 cup liquor, wine or liqueur to the hot pan by first removing the pan from the heat, then pouring in the alcohol and carefully returning the pan to the heat. Stand back a bit and ignite the liquid with a long match, a fire starter, or a lighter and a quick hand. Just as the alcohol ignites, you will hear a quick "poof" and see a faint blue-orange glow on the surface. Then just wait for the flame to subside, about 15 seconds for liquor or wine. (beer cannot be flambeed because it doesn't have enough alcohol to support a flame; but its alcohol can be boiled off.)

When flambeing a dessert, turn that simple piece of pound cake or dish off frozen yogurt into a dramatic dessert by lighting it aflame. Warm 1/2 to 1 ounce (1 to 2 tablespoons) of cognac or fruit-flavored liqueur such as Grand Marnier in a small saucepan or microwave oven using low heat (it only needs to get warmer than room temperature). Quickly touch a long match, lighter, or fire starter to the edge of the liqueur so that it ignites, and immediately pulling your hand away. The alcohol will settle into an even flame. Pour the flaming liqueur over your dessert, turn off the lights, and present the dish before the flames die out.

More Cooking Guide

Visitors Currently Online: 5