When it comes to cooking and entertaining, nothing is more entertaining than fire. From the classic Crepe Suzzette to the wonderful dichotomy of a Baked Alaska, having flambe’ skills in your arsenal is always a crowd pleaser. But do you know how to flambe’?
Thankfully, our favorite mad kitchen scientist, Clark Casarella was here today to teach us the science behind flambe’ – so that we can finally stake our claim to flame.
Want to learn more dinner party theatrics? The science behind sabering a bottle of champagne
The science of flambé
Flambé is French for “flamed”. It can be down to most desserts and foods as long as they don’t have too high of a water content. Typically flambé is done by lighting a liquor such as brandy, cognac, or rum – afire. The alcohol vapor leaves only a faint flavor of the liquor behind, however he process of flambé can enhance and change the overall flavor of the dish greatly.
It is also quite definitely a fun dramatic flair to add to your kitchen repertoire.
Liquors and liqueurs that are 80-proof work best for flambé. Those above 120-proof are highly flammable and dangerous.
The liquor must be warmed to around 130 degrees Fahrenheit, however boiling will burn off the alcohol, and it will not ignite.
IMPORTANT: Remove the pan from any heat source that is gas powered before you flambé.