Flambé is one of those showboaty table-side dishes that's kind of gone the way of table prepped caesar salad and steak tartare. If you thought it was fun watching a dude in a tux prepare it for you, let me assure you that it's MUCH more satisfying doing it yourself. I mean come on... sugar, butter, alcohol and FIRE. What's not to love here?
This is one of those desserts that I'll make with just about anything (corn flambé anyone?). The alcohol butter and sugar make a delightfully dark brown caramel sauce that's hard to beat on vanilla ice cream.
Here's a shot of the butter and sugar melting.
What's that? Rum is flammable?!
.. and another
- Put the butter and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat and allow the sugar to caramelize. This is the only tricky part of this recipe as the caramelization point of sugar is 330 degrees F and the smoke point (the point at which the butter starts burning) of butter is 350. There's no need to use a candy thermometer, but just make sure the sugar is dissolved (looks more gooey than granular), but not burning.
- Add the rhubarb and pineapple and toss to coat. It will bubble and spatter a bit, so be careful. Lastly splash a good glug of dark rum into the pan (but don't go too crazy, especially if you're a virgin flambéer). As the alcohol evaporates, quickly tip the pan towards the flame (gas burner) and the vapors coming off the rum should ignite. I don't think I need to stress the danger here as the flames can leap up several feet from the pan. That said, who doesn't love playing with food and fire?
- As the alcohol burns off, the fire should dissipate, but just incase things go awry keep a lid handy so you can quickly snuff out the fire.
- Pour on vanilla ice cream and enjoy!