What does flambé mean?
Flambé is a French word that translates to “flamed” and it is pronounced (Flahm-Bay). In the flambé process, ingredients like alcohol, are ignited!
The technique of flambé is demonstrated for dramatic flair, but it is also done to dilute the alcohol concentration in a dish in which a cook/chef wants to include alcohol to aid in the development of a richer flavor. Igniting the sauce aids in the evaporation of the alcohol and burns it off, resulting in a more well-rounded, and flavorful sauce without the sharpness from the alcohol.
What type of alcohol should I use to flambé?
For best results use a liquor that is at least 40% alcohol. However, it is important to not use a liquor over 120 proof. At this proof level the liquor is too highly flammable. Rum, whiskey, and cognac are all good choices of alcohol to use when flambéing. Most beer and wines do not have a high enough alcohol content to successfully ignite.
How to flambé step by step
- Gather all of your recipe ingredients and materials
- You will need your recipe ingredients, measured out and ready to go, a wide sauté pan with a lip, a heat proof spatula, a lid that fits your pan (this is important for safety), a long neck lighter, and a fire extinguisher. Although a fire is unlikely it is always important to take proper safety precautions.
- Add the ingredients to the pan according to your recipe, except for the liquor.
- Follow recipe directions and bring the ingredients to the desired consistency.
- Add in the alcohol (*note, as previously mentioned, it is important to have your alcohol pre-measured in a small dish or ramekin. You can then pour the contents into the pan from this container. Do not pour the liquor from the bottle, this could potentially be dangerous). Do not stir the alcohol into the other ingredients (this will dilute it, and it will not ignite as well)
- Allow the alcohol to warm up for about 15-20 seconds. This allows the vapor pressure to build and will allow it to ignite better. However, don’t let the mixture boil, it will evaporate the alcohol and it will not light.
- Turn off your stove, standing back slightly from your pan, and making sure your face is not directly over the pan, using the long neck lighter light the alcohol around the edge of the pan.
- Allow a few seconds for the alcohol to burn off, and the flames to reduce before stirring the contents together.
- You did it! Now you can finish your delicious sauce and enjoy!
What recipes can I flambé with?
Any type of sauce for savory or sweet dishes is a great opportunity to flambé! Whether it’s a cherry sauce for pork chops, a cognac laced steak sauce, or a delicious dessert sauce; the flambé technique will add depth and richness to your dish. Interested in learning how to make an American classic banana fosters sauce? Check out our recipe below for Bananas Foster Sticky Buns! Looking for a little extra help, our upcoming May box includes all the non-perishable ingredients, a step by step recipe card, plus a custom maple wood rolling pin so you can whip up this classic dessert favorite, with a breakfast spin. Go to our website at bakeeatlovebox.com to order your box! Not only can you impress your brunch guests with your new flambé skills, but you can serve them up a delicious sticky bun covered in rich bananas foster goodness.
Bananas Foster Sticky Buns
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 4 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (usually one envelope, see back for contents amount)
- 4 1/2 cups flour ( and 1/4 cup for rolling out dough)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/3 cups brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons rum extract
- 1/4 cup of rum, optional if you are flambéing (you know you want to try it!)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 oz pecan pieces
- Cooking thermometer (optional)
- Large bowl
- Cooking Spray
- Stand mixer with hook attachment or handheld mixer with medium bowl
- Kitchen towel
- 13 X 9 glass baking dish
- Rolling mat or cutting board
- Small bowl
- Sharp knife
- Medium frying pan
- Cutting board or plate
- Wooden or heat resistant spatula
1.) Microwave milk for 60-75 seconds until it’s 110-115°F, stir to distribute the heat. If you do not have a thermometer, you can dip a clean finger into the milk. If it feels hot, it’s too hot for the yeast. Stir and let it cool down. If it feels warm and comfortable, it’s ready.
Add flour, salt, packet of instant yeast, and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with hook attachment or a bowl if using an electric hand mixer or mixing by hand. Mix for 30 seconds on low. Add the milk and mix until a dough forms, about 3 minutes on low.
Scrape the bowl to incorporate any dry mixture on the edges and under the dough. Use a butter knife to cut 4 tbs. room temperature unsalted butter into ½ inch cubes. Add butter to dough and mix on low until completely combined, about 5 minutes. If you are mixing by hand you might need to fold the dough a few times in order to help all the ingredients come together.
Liberally spray a large, clean bowl with cooking spray. Transfer dough into the oiled bowl. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rise in either:
- A warm area (70-78°F) until it has doubled in size, 45 minutes – 1 hour.
- A refrigerator overnight or up to 2 days. This is a good option if you want to make the dough in advance, or if you want to make some of the sticky buns one morning and the rest later.
Once dough has risen, spray a 13×9 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Lay your silicone mat or cutting board on a clean surface. Dust your rolling surface with some flour. Place dough on top. Sprinkle dough with flour. Use your rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangular shape, about 20 x 12 inches. Use a north, south, east to west movement when rolling out the dough to smooth out any dents. Mix 4 tbs. of unsalted melted butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl. Spread evenly across the dough.
Roll one long side of dough to the other long side. Tightly tuck the roll in with your fingers as you go. This helps develop a good swirl. If there is excess flour on the outside of the dough, brush it off before continuing to roll. Use a sharp knife to cut dough into 12 pieces for smaller sticky buns, 8 for jumbo buns. Cover with a kitchen towel. Rest for 30-60 minutes, until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake 20-25 mins. for 12 sticky buns, 22-27 for 8 buns. Tops should be golden brown and firm. Cool 15 mins.
Normal heating instructions
In a medium frying pan, melt 8 tbs. unsalted butter on medium heat stirring with a wooden or heat resistant spatula. Meanwhile, peel the three bananas. On a cutting board or plate, cut the bananas with a knife into ½ inch slices. Then cut each ½ inch slice into a semi-circle. Set aside. After the butter melts, add 1 1/3 cups brown sugar, rum extract, vanilla extract, and bananas. Stir the ingredients with the spatula and bring to a boil for one minute.
Follow normal heating instructions but only add half of the butter, half of the brown sugar, and the extracts to your frying pan. The rest will be added after you flambé. With a long neck lighter near, add ¼ cup spiced rum to pan. Do not stir rum into the other ingredients. Allow the rum to warm up, about 30 seconds. Turn off your stove. Using your lighter, light the rum on fire, taking care to stand back from your pan. It should burn 1-5 seconds. After the flame goes out, turn your stove back on to medium heat, add the remaining 4 tbs. of butter, the rest of the brown sugar, the bananas, and the pecan pieces. Stir to incorporate. Let the mixture bubble for 2-3 minutes.
Pour the banana foster mixture over sticky buns. You can plate each and pour it over individual buns, or pour over all sticky buns. Enjoy!