The Best Flavored Liqueurs To Set Your Apple Pie On Fire

Bananas Foster and Crêpes Suzette aren't the only desserts that you can flambé. Adding a whole new meaning to playing with fire, why not set a freshly baked apple pie ablaze? Flambéing is the perfect way to dazzle dinner guests and add pizzazz to open-faced tarts and gorgeous galettes. The million-dollar question is which liqueur pairs best with apples?

Flambéing is sort of like an optical illusion. Rather than char a dessert like an apple pie, the technique produces a lightly brûléed appearance as the garland of dancing flames actually burns alcohol. But, not just any alcohol has the potential to light a spark. When it comes to creating a proper flambé, spirits should have moderately high levels of alcohol. Basically, anything with an ABV between 40% and 50% will ignite without posing a safety risk. However, that's not the only thing to consider.

Beyond leaving whispers of smokiness, the type of alcohol you choose to flambé with can also impart a faint (but still significant) flavor. Although the sweet and toasted quality of rum or a warm and caramel-esque bourbon can be viable options, the absolute best pairings for apple pies can be found with liqueurs. To amplify apple nuances, you can't go wrong with a sweetly floral apple brandy like Calvados. On the other hand, for a bit of spiced warmth, cinnamon-flavored Fireball can also be a winner.

Setting apple pie ablaze, the right way

Flambéing doesn't have to be complicated or scary, so long as you do it with precision and caution. To begin, make sure that there aren't any materials nearby that can catch on fire, and make sure that all other burners and exhaust fans are turned off to avoid the spread of flames. Once you've chosen the proper saucepan and heated it for several seconds, remove it from the burner before adding the alcohol.

When it comes to determining how much of your chosen liqueur or spirit to add, it's best not to exceed a maximum of three ounces (roughly six tablespoons) as this will infuse enough flavor while still producing a manageable flame. Once the liqueur has been measured and then added to the warm saucepan, you can bring your flambé to life. 

Always make sure to use a long-handled lighter, placing it just above the liquid. After a few moments, slowly pour the fiery liquid over the top of a sugar-sprinkled apple pie, tart, or galette. Get ready to bask in the many oohs and ahhs as the garland of flames eventually fades by itself, leaving you ready to dig in.