Culinary Explorations

Posted January 17, 1999 at 1:50 am 1 Comment

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Plum pudding, a sumptuous
British holiday specialty.

Plum pudding is a classic British delicacy that became popular during the Victorian era.  Traditionally a Christmas dessert, it is composed of beef suet, dried currants, raisins, almonds and spices.  After being boiled or steamed on Christmas morning, plum pudding is typically presented with great ceremony at the Christmas feast.  Before being brought to the table, the pudding is sprinkled generously with brandy and set aflame.

I can’t say that I much care for the taste of plum pudding, but I can’t argue with its manner of presentation.  What better way to serve a food than enveloped in a ball of flame?  It recently occurred to me that this preparation method could be applied to many other foods as well.  Yesterday evening, calling some friends to my aid, I headed to the lounge for a session of culinary experimentation.

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Papa John’s Hawaiian pizza, doused with brandy and ignited.

Pizza may not be sophisticated cuisine, but it doesn’t have to be plebian either.   Just as Wolfgang Puck transformed pizza in the eighties, my friends and I have brought pizza to a new level for the nineties.  With dazzling orange flames, this pizza calls attention to itself.  The extravagant addition of  Mr. Boston blackberry flavored brandy gives the pizza a powerful olfactory allure, and the unique flavor combination of ham, pineapple, and blackberries is truly a gastronomic sensation.   After being flambéed, the cheese had a velvety richness that was positively sensuous.  The procedure also lent the pizza crust a pleasantly crunchy texture, in contrast to its original doughiness.

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Fruit Roll-Up Flambée.

Fruit Roll-Ups are typically frowned upon in gourmet circles and dismissed as a children’s snack.  However, a little bit of creativity can rescue these tasty treats from the obscurity of lunch boxes and vending machines, elevating them to the forefront of haute cuisine.  This Fruit Roll-Up Flambée boasted a delightfully tangy fruitiness and slid across the palate in a fashion that was almost sinfully smooth.   Its heady, far-reaching aroma called to mind a blend of flowery tones and pure, simple sugar, and its melting internal sweetness was balanced perfectly by the slight bitterness of its outer layer, roasted to a dark char.

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Double-cooked mesquite-chive potato chips.

Cut thin and fried to a golden crisp, potato chips are a classic American foodstuff enjoyed by epicures and commoners alike.  Dusted with a sour cream and chive flavoring, then topped liberally with blackberry brandy and lit on fire, these chips put forth a charming display of leaping yellow flames.  We found these fried and roasted chips to be incredibly delicious: medium-thick, wickedly crisp, and with a clean, buttery savor.

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La pizza de mûre rôtie avec fruit enroulé flambée
aux pommes de terre brûlées.

We didn’t try preparing any other dishes, but the possibilities are virtually endless!   Try creating your own culinary masterpieces at home, or for an out-of-this-world taste sensation, try combining the dishes suggested above into a multi-course meal fit for a king!

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  1. Recipee Of Fruit Flambee. How to make this in India with complete Presentation.

    Comment by Satish Phatak — October 4, 2007 #

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