Brandy

Brandy

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

A spirit distilled principally from grape wine but also from the fermented juice of other fruits. Grape brandy is widely used in cooking, especially French cooking, adding depth and flavour to sauces, casseroles, consommés, flambés and other dishes. Ways to use brandy:

With fruit: Sprinkle a little brandy, lemon juice and sugar over summer fruits such as strawberries, peaches or apricots. By the time you have prepared the rest of the meal, they will have formed their own brandy-flavoured syrup.

With cheese: Grate leftover pieces of cheese, place in a bowl or food processor and work in some freshly ground black pepper, softened butter and brandy to make a soft paste. Stir in some chopped nuts and store, covered, in the refrigerator for a few days to mellow. Serve at room temperature with biscuits or French bread.

With pan juices: After sautéing steak, chops, hamburgers or vegetables, deglaze the pan with cream and a spoonful of brandy for a delectable sauce to serve on the food.

In savoury dishes: A spoonful of brandy, added just before serving, makes all the difference to French onion soup. Add a sprinkle of brandy to the butter in which carrots Vichy (see: Carrots) are glazed.

Brandied fruit: Use one kind of fruit or add different fruits as they come into season. Suitable fruits are strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, peeled peaches, apricots, grapes and plums, peeled and sliced pineapple. Fruits such as peaches and apricots may be left whole or halved.

Choose a large crock or jar with a well-fitting lid and scald with boiling water. Put in prepared fruit, brandy and sugar in equal quantities – 1 cup sugar and 1 cup brandy for every 1 cup fruit – and cover. Stir gently every day until the last of the fruit has been added, securing the lid after each addition, and store for at least a month or two in a cool place before using. The mixture will keep indefinitely and can be added to as you wish. Serve the drained brandied fruit as a dessert, and enjoy the liqueur with after-dinner coffee.

Cooking with brandy: This is not as extravagant as it sounds – the French have been cooking with brandy for centuries. It is perfectly normal to find a bottle of brandy in a French kitchen, but it is always used with discretion and for certain dishes only.

Brandy is perhaps the main spirit used in cooking, certainly it is the most traditional, but most good cooks like to vary the spirit, or use a fortified wine. Prawns may be flamed in brandy, but Pernod or whisky may also be used.

Pâtés and terrines are flavoured with brandy, and brandy can lift a consommé or hearty soup like French onion. Brandy, and other spirits, can be added at different stages of cooking; it is often flamed, whether added halfway through or at the last minute. When you flame food with spirits (all the alcohol in it is burnt away, leaving just the flavour), you also burn off some of the fatty bits on the food; this singeing the surface of the food gives it a distinctive taste.

To get a flame, it is necessary to warm the spirit first; sometimes just adding it to the hot pan is enough. When flaming the Christmas pudding, dip a sugar cube in the spirit (brandy, whisky or rum) and place it on top of the pudding, then warm the spirit, ignite and carefully pour it over the pudding.

Sweet potatoes with brandy: Layer parboiled, thickly sliced sweet potatoes in a shallow baking dish, dotting each layer with butter and sprinkling with salt, freshly ground black pepper, brown sugar and brandy. Dot top with butter. Cover and bake in a preheated moderate oven for 20 minutes, then remove cover and baste with juices from dish. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for a further 10 minutes until top is golden.

Brandy sauces: Brandy flavours two simple but delicious dessert sauces that are especially associated with Christmas.

Brandy custard sauce: Stir brandy into créme Anglaise in the proportion of 1 tablespoon per cup, or to taste. Serve brandy custard sauce warm or cold with Christmas pudding.

Brandy hard sauce (brandy butter): See: Hard sauce.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

Tags:
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again