Cafe Brulot is the grandest ending to a major New Orleans dinner. The show at the table is worth the attention, and the aroma is wonderful. If you make it at home, look for oranges with a thick, flawless skin (California oranges are best for this). There is a special bowl and matching cups made for cafe brulot, and it makes the process not only easier but much more beautiful.
This is a flamed dish. So make sure you have nothing above the burning bowl that could catch fire. Do not use any spirit higher than 80 proof. If you feel ill at ease about flaming dishes, just bring the ingredients to a boil and don’t flame it. It tastes just as good.
- Peel of 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- 12-15 cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
- 3 oz. brandy
- 3 oz. Cointreau, triple sec, or Grand Marnier
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 4 cups freshly brewed very dark coffee, preferably coffee and chicory
1. Wash the lemon and the orange. Peel the lemon and cut the peel into strips about an inch long and a half inch wide. Stud the skin of the orange with the cloves, inserting the cloves in a spiral pattern from top to bottom. Then cut the peel from the orange in one continuous spiral with the cloves in the center of the strip.
2. In a metal bowl set over a small burner, combine the brandy and the Cointreau with the lemon peel, orange, and cinnamon sticks. Bring the liqueurs to a light boil and hold it there for a minute. Carefully touch a flame to the mixture and flame it, stirring it around.
3. With a long fork, spear the orange and hold it up above the bowl. Pour some of the flaming liquid over the orange and let it flow down the spiral of the skin.
4. Add the vanilla, sugar and the coffee, and swirl it all around until the flames die out. Pour the cafe brulot into demitasse cups and serve hot. It’s okay for pieces of lemon or orange peel to go into the cup.
Serves six to eight.