Shrove Tuesday came and went. What stayed is my memory of one of my favourite desserts: Crêpes Suzette. I know, I know! I missed the pancake day with this recipe. Believe me, being a dad of two is not easy. Enough excuses, better late than never. And I simply cannot make myself wait another year to share this recipe with you. I must confess, I am have a soft spot for pancakes in any form. Drop scones, American pancakes, crêpes I love them in all shapes and sizes. Man has to have some weaknesses and I am not ashamed to admit mine. Crêpes Suzette is not only my favourite pancakes dish but one of my favourite dessert full stop. Call me mental but I just love the combination of thin pancakes soaked in decadent mixture of orange, caramel and butter. Add a splash of booze and I am in heaven. Some may consider Crêpes Suzette old fashion but for me it is this classic withstood the test of time. It is relatively simple to prepare but I guarantee it will impress your guests. And when it comes to little diners show me a kid that doesn’t like pancakes and oranges!
Makes: 4 – 6 portions.
Equipment required: shallow frying pan around 20cm diameter (preferably non stick) or crêpe pan and another large frying pan.
For the crêpes:
- 120g plain flour
- 2 large eggs
- 250ml full fat milk
- 1 tblsp rapeseed oil
Fore the Suzzette sauce:
- 60g unsalted butter
- 30g caster sugar
- 1 orange, zest grated and flesh segmented
- 100ml fresh orange juice
- 2 tblsp Grand Marnier (can be replaced by orange Curaçao)
- 2 tblsp Grand Marnier (or orange Curaçao)
- 1 tblsp brandy
- Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and break in the eggs.
- Start beating the eggs using a balloon whisk. Concentrate on the eggs only, gradually drawing in flour from around the edge. Don’t force the flour in, it will be incorporated as you beat the eggs.
- When the egg mixture has a consistency of a thick paste, add a little milk and keep beating. Continue adding splashes of milk and beating until all of the flour has been incorporated. Beat to ensure the mixture is smooth, then mix in the remaining milk and oil. If you have time chill the batter for about 30 minutes. This will allow the starch cells to swell which will make the batter lighter. The batter should have consistency of a thin cream.
- If you don’t have an oil spray melt about 30g butter in a small bowl. Place the pan over a low to medium heat and spray with oil or wipe with kitchen paper dipped in the melted butter.
- Pour in a little of the batter into the frying pan, just enough to thinly coat the bottom of the pan (about ½ soup ladle). As you pour the batter in, swirl the pan to ensure the batter to cover the bottom completely. Return the pan to the heat.
- After 1 – 2 minutes, use the palette knife to release and lift the edge of the crêpe to check the colour. When golden brown, use the palette knife and your fingers to turn the crêpe over. Cook for another 1 – 2 minutes and then gently remove it to a plate.
- Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Often the first crêpe will be either too thick, or thin and break. Adjust consistency of the batter with extra milk if necessary. Avoid overcooking the crêpes or they will toughen. They need only 1 – 2 minutes on each side, adjust the heat a little if required.
- For the sauce, put the butter, sugar, orange zest, orange juice and Grand Marnier in a large frying pan. Place over medium heat and simmer for at least 2 minutes, until reduced by half. Add orange segments to the sauce.
- Lower the heat and lay a crêpe in the frying pan. Baste it with the orange sauce and, using a spoon and a fork, fold it in half and then in half again to make a triangle. Push the pancake to the side of the pan. Add a second crêpe and repeat the process of basting and folding. Then repeat with the remaining crêpes. You will be able to cook 4 pancakes at one time.
- Once the crêpes are folded increase the heat to medium. Add a little water if the mixture becomes to dry.
- To serve, put Grand Marnier and brandy into a flameproof dish and heat up in a microwave. Set the mixture alight and pour over the crêpes. Shake the pan until the flames subside. Plate immediately.
Serve with a dollop of crème Chantilly or scoop of ice cream.