Ze French Crêpe Suzette, this desert (which I must say, makes a wonderful breakfast if you need the calories) is a staple of many fine restaurants. A little pretentious, but an otherwise amazing cooking experience. The crepes (as the saying goes) must be fine and lace like in appearance, the sauce must be thick and sweetly orange. Grand Marnier and Brandy are essential to finalise these flavours, some prefer a little white curaçao and kirsch, but I prefer the simplicity.
Crepes (all of these ingredients at room temperature please):
- 300g Plain Flour
- 870g Milk
- 4 Eggs
- 30g Caster Sugar
- 20g Melted Butter
- Juice and Rind of 4 Oranges
- Juice of 2 Lemons
- 160g Butter
- 160g Caster Sugar
- 50ml Brandy
- 50ml Grand Marnier
Step 1: Combine all the crepe ingredients into a mixing bow, and using a whisk beat together into a very thin batter. This batter MUST be left for a minimum of 30 mins before use, however I like to let it sit for an hour. This is to allow the gluten in the batter to relax which prevents a rubbery crepe.
Step 2: To cook the crepes, you need a heavy frying pan or a crepe pan. As my stove isn't all that amazing, I go with the heavy frying pan to stabilise the heat, however if you have a gas or induction stove then a cast iron crepe pan is ideal. The "correct" way is to use a little butter, however I have found that the ordinary canola non stick spray works perfectly without imparting any nasty flavour profiles to the finished crepe.
Step 3: Cook the crepes using your preferred method and stack them to the side. They will be warmed in the sauce later, so its OK if they cool a little. As you can see in the pictures below, the edges of the crepe are like fine lace. A perfect crepe is like that all the way through the crepe.
Step 4: Combine the Suzette Sauce ingredients minus the alcohol components in a frying pan large enough to accomodate the crepes, of course I use the same pan I used to cook them in which is convenient. Slowly simmer the sauce until the butter is completely melted and the sugar has disolved. At this point if you choose, you can strain the sauce to remove the zest, however I am lazy and enjoy the zest texture and flavour so I leave them in.
Step 5: With the sauce on a slow simmer, one by one lay the crepes in the suzette sauce, without wasting to much time, fold the crepe in half, then half again to make a quarter, remove the crepe leaving as much of the sauce behind as possible, and place the crepe onto a warmed plate. You will notice only the one side of the crepe is in the sauce, this allows the crepe to keep its shape on the plate.
This next step is optional, however the usual warnings apply, this is not necessary and involves controlled fire in the kitchen, there is a risk you will burn your kitchen down so if you don't feel confident you can omit this step. Naturally I cannot be held responsible for other peoples actions after a suitable amount of warning, so don't think about taking legal action against me if you burn your house down. DO NOT do this if your stove is in a small nook, there is a risk of explosion in this instance, ensure adequate ventilation at all times, there is a reason they normall perform this step in front of the customer, aside from being a good show, it also ensures its done in an open environment.
Step 6: By the time the crepes have finished passing through the sauce, it will have reduced somewhat, so add the alcohol ingredients and wait for the initial flash boil to subside, then using a long BBQ lighter, ignite the vapours carefully, allow the fire to burn down a little. NEVER ignite the vapours from the flash boil, there is a very real risk of the fire spreading or an explosion. The alternative to this step if you don't want the fire, is to simply not ignite the alcohol vapours, add the alcohol components and allow the alcohol to simmer off.
Step 7: Pour the completed sauce over the crepes and serve.
Enjoy, this is a fun recipe for those with the confidence to complete it. Its really not a complicated dish at all compared to many out there, although I can understand the trepidation of some from attempting it, however once you have done it once, you will revisit it many times to impress family and friends. Not only that, its a fantastic tasting dish on its own.