Hello Sunday morning. Photo - photolibrary.com
Light crepes bathed in a warm, sweet orange sauce heady with liqueur, served on a dramatically flaming dish: no wonder this is such a famous dessert! Never tried it for yourself? Now’s the time.
The original Crepe Suzette was made in 1895 at Monte Carlo’s Café de Paris by a 14-year-old assistant waiter called Henri Carpentier.
One night when he was serving liquored pancakes to a table headed by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward, the alcohol caught fire and the crepes in the pan where engulfed in flame. Henri thought his career was over before it had begun, but the accidental flaming brought the various flavours in the sauce together and the result was a great success, one taste of which he says ‘would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman’. Try civilizing the cannibals in your household with this.
What you need:
100g plain flour
Pinch of salt
Zest of half an orange
100g caster sugar
35g unsalted butter
150ml fresh orange juice
Zest of one orange
Juice and zest of half a lemon
3 tbs Grand Marnier or Cointreau
2 tbs brandy, to flame
cream, to serve
What to do:
Put the flour and salt in a food processor and whiz to combine. Stir the eggs into the milk then add to the flour and process to form a smooth batter.
Melt the butter in a small frypan and add two tablespoons to the batter, mixing well. Pour the rest of the butter into a small bowl and use it to grease the pan between crepes. Pour the batter into a jug, and let sit for 30 minutes.
Put the frying pan on medium-high heat and brush with melted butter. Check that the batter has the consistence of thin cream – add more milk if necessary. Pour in enough batter to just cover the base of the hot pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until base of the crepe is lightly browned.
Flip and cook the other side, then repeat with the rest of the mixture, keeping the crepes warm on a plate laid on top of a pot of simmering water. (The first crepe of a batch is usually a mess and may need to be discarded.)
To make the sauce first mix together the juices, zest, sugar and Grand Marnier. Melt the butter in the pan, then add the sauce, and heat gently to dissolve the sugar.
Add a crepe to the pan and let it warm in the sauce, then fold twice to form a triangle and place on a warm serving plate. Continue with the rest of the crepes and pour any remaining sauce over the top.
To flame the crepes, heat the brandy in a small saucepan, pour over the crepes, and light with a long match. Serve once the flame has died, with cream.
Text: Robin Powell