Older lady kindly asked for her flat iron to be au poivre, never been on the menu mind you, but agreed to make it. Admittedly I have never made the sauce before I gave it a go from memory from a text book. Seared the crusted steaks (unsalted) in a pan, transferred to sizzler and finished in oven. Add a little bit of oil to pan and added shallots and thyme and sauteed, flamed with cognac, added veal stock and cream and reduced. Strained through chinois and served on the side. It looked good but tasted a little bitter. It didn't have that creamy color I've seen before, it was darker. What went wrong? Culprits??? The fond on the pan was quite heavy with seared peppercorns, too much? The flame up from cognac added additional char taste? About 1 oz worth of cognac was used. The veal stock wasn't the best? It's usually made decently. Should have used cream only (no stock) to round out the taste? A combination or all of the above?