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Test Kitchen

Flambéing safely

By Jennifer Armentrout, editor

July 7th, 2010

A fire in the kitchen is usually bad news, but in this issue we’re starting a couple of fires on purpose. The Bananas Foster and the Fireman’s Sausage are both ignited. If you’re new to flambéing, here are tips for pulling it off safely.

1. Pull the pan off the burner before adding the alcohol, or the alcohol may ignite before you’re done pouring.

2. Return the pan to the stove to ignite, unless you have a built-in microwave or anything combustible above the stove. In this case, move the pan to a spot with plenty of clearance.

3. Have a metal lid nearby to snuff the fire if it gets out of hand.

4. Use a long match or a long-handled lighter, but don’t light it until the alcohol is in the pan.

5. Ignite the fumes at the edge of the pan, not the liquid alcohol.

6. Don’t lean over the pan, and keep your face turned away slightly. Pull your hand back as soon as the flames appear.

7. Alcohol must be hot in order to ignite. If the alcohol resists igniting, heat it for a few seconds before trying again.

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