Perhaps the pinnacle of deserts in Southern cooking, bananas foster has been a sought after item since it was pioneered in New Orlean’s French Quarter in the early 1950’s. Composed of flambéed bananas, a luscious rum sauce, and cooling vanilla ice cream, bananas foster is a crowd-pleasing introduction into the world of flambé.
- Pro Tip: Want to take a deeper dive into creole cooking? Check out our favorite dishes from the French Quarter here.
One of the original flambé dishes, the creation of crêpes suzette was born from pure accident. According to culinary legend, a teenage waiter in Monte Carlo accidentally poured alcohol onto a batch of crepes during the cooking process, resulting in the dish that was then presented to the prince of Wales. Nowadays, the dish is anything but unintentional; the mixture of sweet, citric, and boozy flavors all dance together to create a fantastically memorable eating experience.
Created in honor of Queen Victoria herself near the turn of the century, cherries jubilee is one of the better flambé dishes to serve table side. Be careful when selecting your cherries however; large sour cherries like the Montmorency or Morello varieties will net you a better finished product as they hold up better in the cooking process.
- Pro Tip: Revisit our favorite cherry varieties here.
If you ask the average American eater which flambé dishes they’re most familiar with, chances are that they’ll mention baked Alaska. After all, who wouldn’t want a dessert that’s composed of ice cream, sponge cake, and caramelized meringue? Luckily for the inquisitive chef, there are many different takes on baked Alaska, ranging from the fruit-forward cherry baked Alaska to the rum soaked bombe Alaska. Feel free to experiment with different flavor profiles; the dish is pliable enough to handle numerous variations.
A tropical take on bananas foster, this dish replaces one yellow fruit for another. Perhaps most importantly, it plays with the well tested combination of pineapple and rum, resulting in a finished product that is simultaneously new and familiar. If you want to lean even further into the tropical side of things, try adding coconut of macadamia nut slivers as garnish!
The only dish on this list that classically calls for tequila as the poison of choice, mangoes diablo is a delightfully Mexican-forward take on the flambé process. When choosing your tequila, be sure to use blanco as apposed to reposado tequila because the latter has additional flavors that can change the overall taste of the dish. For an added level of flair, consider sprinkling cinnamon on your mangoes before igniting. The seasoning pops when flambéed, resulting in an even more impressive visual performance!