A spirit produced by distilling wine, brandy takes its name from the distillation process where the wine is heated to separate the alcohol, thus the Dutch called it brandewijn, or ‘burnt wine’. Although most commonly thought of as an after-dinner drink, it can also be used for cooking, often to enrich sauces, soak fruits, or, as at Christmas, poured over desserts and spectacularly set alight (to flambé).
So on that theme, no brandy recipe collection would be complete without traditional Christmas pudding, and Dominic Chapman’s version has a triple hit of brandy, with brandy-steeped fruits, a rich brandy butter and the final flaming flourish.
This festive Christmas cake recipe from Karen Burns-Booth is plumped up with a good soak of brandy overnight.
Marcus Wareing’s roast beef sirloin with a mushroom and brandy sauce would make a special Sunday lunch, while Andrew MacKenzie’s brandy poached raspberry and mascarpone brûlée makes a stunning Summer dessert.