One of the best restaurant dinners I can recall was when my in-laws took my then-boyfriend and me to La Foret, a top-notch restaurant tucked away amid the trees of New Almaden, California. Many of their dishes were flamed. We had flambed crepes and all eyes were on us. The entire restaurant was looking and while we were the first to order this fire spectacular, we were soon copied all throughout the room. My husband even had flambed coffee!
To flambe or use a flame on a dessert may sound complicated and extravagant, but it is easy and will bring elegance and flare to your dish. A simple fruit like a banana which you might not otherwise consider serving to your guests suddenly becomes something quite special when you call it Banane Flambee and your guests ooh and aah over the flames.
The only trick is to warm both your dessert and your alcohol first. A chaffing dish works great. Then, while you make sure you keep your face at a safe distance (you're not cooking Roasted Chef!) and you stay away from fire alarms too, you light the dessert with a match. The alcohol will burn off and the flames will gradually disappear, leaving only the flavor.
Good alcohols to choose for desserts include: Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Cognac, Rum, Chambord.
No need to save your flambes only for dessert. You can make a grand entrance with your entrees too!