Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com
Servings: Makes 6 servings
What is Crêpes Suzette?
Crêpes Suzette is a typical French and Belgian dessert, consisting of a crêpe with a hot sauce of caramelised sugar, orange juice, lightly grated orange peel and liqueur (usually Grand Marnier) on top, which is subsequently lit.
The most common way to make Crêpes Suzette is to pour liqueur (usually Grand Marnier) over a freshly baked crêpe with sugar and light it. This will make the alcohol in the liqueur evaporate, resulting in a fairly thick, caramelised sauce. In a restaurant, a Crêpe Suzette is often prepared in a chafing dish in full view of the guests.
The dish was created out of a mistake made by a fourteen year-old assistant waiter Henri Carpentier in 1895 at the Maitre at Monte Carlo's Café de Paris. He was preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII of England.
This is told by Henri Charpentier himself in Life a la Henri, his autobiography, although later on contradicted by the Larousse dictionary.
"It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought I was ruined. The Prince and his friends were waiting. How could I begin all over? I tasted it. It was, I thought, the most delicious melody of sweet flavors I had every tasted. I still think so. That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste . . . He ate the pancakes with a fork; but he used a spoon to capture the remaining syrup. He asked me the name of that which he had eaten with so much relish. I told him it was to be called Crepes Princesse. He recognized that the pancake controlled the gender and that this was a compliment designed for him; but he protested with mock ferocity that there was a lady present. She was alert and rose to her feet and holding her little shirt wide with her hands she made him a curtsey. ‘Will you,' said His Majesty, 'change Crepes Princesse to Crepes Suzette?’ Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman. The next day I received a present from the Prince, a jeweled ring, a panama hat and a cane."
Life A La Henri - Being The Memories of Henri Charpentier by Henri Charpentier and Boyden Sparkes, The Modern Library, New York, 2001 Paperback Edition. Originally published in 1934 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.
For the Crêpe Batter:
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
For the Sauce:
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Grand Marnier (orange liqueur)
Fresh orange slices and rind
You will need an 8 or 9-inch crepe pan or nonstick frying pan to make crêpes in.
You can make the crêpes ahead of time and heat them through in the sauce. The flambeing is more for show than taste. If you like, add the Grand Marnier to the orange juice mixture (before adding the crêpes). Bring the mixture to a boil (allowing the alcohol to burn off which is essentially what the flambeing does). Then add the crêpes. Heat through.
For the Crêpes:
Beat eggs. Add flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix. Add 1/4 of the milk and all the oil. Whisk. Add remaining milk. Heat crêpe pan over medium heat and spray lightly with cooking oil. Ladle two tablespoons of the batter into the pan and tilt the pan to cover the bottom with a thin, even coating. Cook the crêpe until small bubbles form on the surface and it is barely firm, 30 seconds to minute. Flip and repeat until crêpe is done. Use crêpes immediately or stack them separated by wax paper. Wrap well and freeze for up to one month. Thaw while still wrapped at room temperature. (You will need 12 crêpes for the crêpes suzette).
For the Sauce:
In a 10-inch skillet, or chafing dish, over low heat, heat orange juice, butter, and sugar until butter melts. Fold each crêpe in half, then fold each one again into quarters. Arrange crêpes in sauce in skillet or chafing dish and heat through.
In a very small saucepan over low heat, gently heat liqueur until warm; remove saucepan from heat. Ignite liqueur with match; pour flaming liqueur over crêpes.
Fresh orange slices and orange rind make nice garnishes.
Makes 12 crêpes, 2 crêpes per serving, (or 6 servings).
Date: February 7, 2002