Crepes suzette were made famous in elegant Parisian restaurants at the turn of the twentieth century and have become standard French dessert fare. That they were accidentally created by a young waiter who was serving the Prince of Wales, and then named for the prince's companion, Suzette, is a nice story but probably not true. Nevertheless, they are dramatic and utterly delicious.
For the suzette butter:
- 1 orange
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
For the batter:
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups milk, plus more as needed
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 6 Tbs. brandy
- 3 Tbs. Grand Marnier
- Thin strips of orange zest for garnish
To make the suzette butter, grate the zest from the orange. Cut the orange in half and extract the juice. In a food processor, combine the orange zest, butter and sugar and process until completely blended. With the motor running, slowly add the orange juice and process again until blended. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
To make the batter, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and the 1 3/4 cups milk. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture to make a thin, lump-free batter. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
When ready to cook, stir the batter; it should be the consistency of heavy cream. If it is too thick, thin with a little more milk. Heat a 12-inch crepe pan or nonstick fry pan over medium heat until hot. Add 1 tsp. of the unsalted butter and tilt the pan to coat the bottom with the butter as it melts. Ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan, tilting and swirling the pan to coat the bottom with the batter. Pour any excess batter back into the bowl. Cook until the edges are dry and separate slightly from the pan, 30 to 45 seconds. Using a spatula, turn the crepe over and cook for just a few seconds. Transfer to a warmed plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more butter to the pan as needed. You should have 12 crepes.
In a fry pan over medium-high heat, melt 4 Tbs. of the suzette butter and add 4 crepes to the pan. Using 2 forks, turn the crepes in the butter to coat, then fold each into fourths and nestle them in the pan. Add 2 Tbs. of the brandy and 1 Tbs. of the Grand Marnier. Remove from the heat. Using a long-handled match, ignite the brandy and stir the crepes in the sauce until the flames subside. Transfer to individual plates. Repeat the process in 2 more batches. Serve immediately, garnished with the orange zest strips. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of French Cooking, by Georgeanne Brennan & Sarah Putnam Clegg (Oxmoor House, 2009).