Irresistible Crêpes Suzette: A French Classic for Citrus Season!

Crepes Suzette

These Crêpes Suzette are INCREDIBLE! This beautiful French dessert is perfect for citrus season and ideal for a weekend dinner. Handkerchief folded thin crepes are served with an incredible buttery citrus sauce with Grand Marnier and can be flambeed at the table so they're a great dish for guests. Plus they're actually straightforward to make and you can make the crepes and sauce ahead of time so all you have to do is heat them up and light them up! This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!

Crêpes Suzette is a classic French dessert made up of crepes with butter and citrus sauce on top. Sometimes dishes fall out of favour because they're a bit retro or old fashioned but I'm definitely revisiting this a lot this winter as it is such a sublime dessert. I was spurred on to repeatedly make this because it is citrus season and Valentina gave me a big bag full of her incredibly juicy home-grown oranges.

Crepes Suzette

The origins of Crêpes Suzette are debated by historians but some point it towards French chef Auguste Escoffier, who popularised the dish in the late 19th century. However as one story goes it was not Escoffier who created the dish but an assistant waiter, Henri Charpentier in the 1890s at the Monte Carlo's Café de Paris. Charpentier was serving the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII and accidentally lit the liqueurs on fire. It was served and when asked about the name he called it "Crêpes Princesse" but was asked to change it to Crepes Suzette after a woman called Suzette present at the table.

Another story says that it was named after actress Suzanne Reichenberg who went under the name Suzette. In 1897 she was playing a maid on stage and was tasked with serving crepes. The owner of Restaurant Marivaux Monsieur Joseph made the crêpes and flambéed them to get the audience's attention and to keep the food warm for the actors to eat.

I love the first story mainly because I've been to Cafe de Paris in Monaco and eaten Crepes Suzette there and they were absolutely divine. They flambéed them at the table and I can really taste that rich, buttery citrus sauce in my taste memory.

Crepes Suzette

Tips For Making Crêpes Suzette

1 - Sweet crêpes are usually made with plain flour but savoury crêpes or galettes are made with buckwheat flour.

2 - If you get lumps in your crêpe batter, don't worry, just pass the batter through a sieve!

3 - If you have a crepe pan use it because the shallow, non stick pan makes it easier to flip the crepes and slide them out. But you can use a non stick frying pan too.

4 - Always lift the pan off the heat when pouring the batter and tilt the pan to allow the batter to spread out. Lifting the pan off the heat allows a bit more time for the batter to spread over the pan before setting. You want your crepes to be as thin as possible. Honestly I think my crepes could have been even thinner!

5 - If you are making the crêpes for a later date or want to refrigerate or freeze them, place parchment paper between each crepe. Then just make the sauce on the day (this can also keep for a day or two in the fridge and then gently heated with the crêpe itself)

6 - The sauce is glossy and buttery and gets its glorious citrus flavour from the zest, juice and Grand Marnier and a lot of butter.

7 - You can use other citrus too like tangelos or mandarins to make the sauce.

8 - You can also use a range of orange flavoured liqueurs. I like using Grand Marnier but you can also use Cointreau, Triple Sec or Orange Curaçao.

9 - You can also add another couple of splashes of Grand Marnier at the end and then light it on fire at the table. Be sure to use a long handled lighter (I avoid using matches) to light it and be careful!

Crepes Suzette

I was actually supposed to make these Crepes Suzette for a dinner party this past weekend with Monica and Marco. However on Monday last week Mr NQN started to come down with the flu. It feels like every time he goes into the office he catches something. I got my flu shot but Mr NQN finds it hard to shake his anti vaxxer leanings from his parents so he skipped getting the jab. He was sick all week and wasn't getting any better, not helped because he refused to take time off work and rest.

I had a lot of social events that week so I'd go out leave him at home with his dinner and lots of fresh orange juice made with Valentina's oranges. However Mr NQN isn't great at recognising his own needs. One night I came home around 10:30pm and he was huddled under the covers looking freezing but he hadn't even turned the heater on! Every day I turn on all of the heated floors and heaters as soon as the sun goes down but he just doesn't think of doing any of this for himself.

At the end of the week he finally decided to take the day off work. Monica and I met for lunch and discussed our dinner plans the following evening. It was supposed to be at our house and Mr NQN said that he could just stay in bed but we thought that it might be rather awkward with three of us having a great time while he was in bed upstairs (literally above the kitchen and dining room).

Plus, and this was a major consideration: the theme of our dinner was a Titanic dinner party featuring dishes from the Titanic ship's dinner menu!

We had started planning the dinner over a month ago, long before we knew what was happening with the Titan submarine (we literally have no idea that this is what billionaires do with their money). It felt a bit odd to be doing it so we decided to postpone it for a couple of months, and hopefully Mr NQN won't be sick then too!

So tell me Dear Reader, what did you think of the Titan sub situation? Are you good at recognising your own needs when you are ill? And do you like Crepes Suzette?

Crepes Suzette

Crêpes Suzette

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Makes 5-6 crepes (depending on pan size)

For Crepes

  • 150g/5ozs. plain all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 400ml/14 flozs whole milk
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 40g/1.4ozs melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • Oil or butter for frying

For Sauce

  • 170g/6ozs butter, softened
  • 100g/3.5ozs white sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 2 medium oranges
  • 90ml/3flozs. orange juice
  • 90ml3flozs. Grand Marnier
  • Fat pinch of salt
  • Finely sliced orange zest to decorate

Step 1 - Whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a medium sized bowl. In a jug whisk the milk, eggs, butter and vanilla bean paste and whisk the wet mixture in gradually into the dry mixture. If there are lumps, pass the batter through a sieve.

Crepes Suzette

Step 2 - Heat a crepe pan or frying pan (mine was 30cm/12inches) and heat with a little oil or butter on low medium heat. Take a ladle of batter and take the pan off the heat and pour the batter and turn the pan so that it the batter spreads across the whole pan. You want them as thin as possible. Lower heat down to low and check after a minute to see if the bottom side is cooked, then flip over. Slide onto a large plate and repeat with the remaining batter to get around 5-6 crepes. If you are making the crepes for a later date or want to refrigerate or freeze them, place parchment paper between each crepe.

Crepes Suzette

Step 3 - While the crepes are cooking, make the sauce. Add the butter, sugar, zest, orange juice, Grand Marnier and salt to a small saucepan and allow the butter to melt. Heat to a simmer while whisking occasionally for 8-10 minutes. The mixture should emulsify and become syrupy.

Crepes Suzette
Wait until the butter emulsifies with the juice and Grand Marnier and becomes syrupy

Step 3B Thermomix - Make the sauce. Place the peel of 2 oranges and sugar in the bowl and grind for 10 seconds, speed #10. Scrape down sides and repeat, it should be very fine. Add juice and Grand Marnier and heat for 3 minutes/100C/speed #1. Remove lid and when temperature reaches 60C add butter cubes and salt and set to 60C/2 minutes/Speed #3 or until syrupy.

Step 4 - Return a crepe to the pan and pour over a ladle full of the syrup. Allow to coat both sides of the crepe and then gently fold over in the pan like a handkerchief. Place on a serving plate or platter and repeat with the rest of the crepes using up all of the sauce. Pour over the remaining sauce in the frying pan on top of the plate. Decorate with finely sliced orange zest.

Crepes Suzette

Step 5 - To flambé, add a couple of splashes of Grand Marnier to the crepes and light it on fire at the table. Be sure to use a long handled lighter (I avoid using matches) to light it and be careful.

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