What is the correct way to set a dessert delightfully aflame? Pouring vodka on a plum pudding and then trying to ignite it with a lighter doesn’t work, reports rworange ruefully. Glencora recommends holding a large spoon full of brandy over the dessert, lighting the spoonful of liquor, and then pouring it over the dessert.
The real secret, though, says alanbarnes, is to gently heat the liquor in a saucepan before lighting it and pouring it, all flaming, over the plum pudding or what-have-you. Heating the liquor creates flammable alcohol vapor, and then “the heat of the flame will evaporate more alcohol, which will feed the flame, which will evaporate more alcohol and so on until it’s spent,” says alanbarnes. Vodka will work, but brandy, whiskey, and rum are preferable because they “bring a little extra flavor to the party,” says alanbarnes.