Brownies, cookies and cakes are delicious, but sometimes we need an adult’s dessert. Crepes Suzette is one of those delightful and easy-to-make desserts. It’s made with delicate crepes smothered in a tasty butter and orange sauce. They’re my favourite dessert at the moment, and I’m serving it to anyone who comes home for dinner.
The Origin of Crepes Suzette
The Crepes Suzette recipe definitely originates in France, but the story behind the name has many versions to this day. A popular story states that a garçon at Café de Paris, Henri Charpentier, by mistake poured liqueur over the crepes which then caught fire. According to his autobiography, he tasted them and were delicious. The best part of the story is that this dish was going to be served to the then Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. At the table, there is said to have been seated a beautiful woman called Suzette, and thus the name of the dessert. A less dramatic version is the Charpentier told in an interview in the ’50s, where he said the dish was based on a recipe his foster mother made with crepes and fruit. He also added that adding liqueur is what was in fashion at the time. There are many other versions from different authors, origins, actresses and scandals. All of it is very interesting to read!
How to make crepes
The base for a good Crepes Suzette recipe is thin and delicate crepes. The recipe that I use is my classic crepe recipe and you can actually use it for both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s really a delicious batter and I use it every time I can. The batter is really tasty and has a sweet and savoury taste that makes it ideal for any sauce or filling. You can make it easily using a bowl and whisk or even a blender. After making the batter, you need to refrigerate it for 30 minutes and cook the crepes in your favourite non-stick pan. To flip them, I like to use my hands, holding one side and flipping it in one motion. If you prefer, you can use a spatula. I’ve used this basic crepe recipe before when making Poppy Seed Crepes and also Chocolate Crepes.
The Crepes Suzette Sauce
Crepes Suzette is known around the world for their sauce. The sauce has a butter base with orange and sugar. It sounds simple but the result is always incredibly good. Also, a Suzette sauce is nothing without adding orange liqueur. Ideally, you want to use a French liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau. They’re both delicious and add lots of flavour to the recipe. If you’re not using liqueur, add the same amount in water to help the sauce come together. Although, don’t tell any French that I recommended that. The alcohol completely evaporates in the cooking process, so it’s perfectly safe for kids and pregnant women alike. Now, if you’re like me, you will add a dash of extra liquor before serving for a kick and flambé it right before serving with the flames over the crepes… Magnifique!
How to keep Crepes Suzette
Ideally, you want to serve the crepes as you make them but here’s my tip of the day. If you want to get ahead and have components ready beforehand, you can have the Crepes Suzette ready and soaked in the sauce. They reheat really well in the microwave if they already have the sauce poured on top. What you definitely don’t want to do is have the crepes ready without the sauce. If you do this, they will dry up and lose their flavour. Now, what I usually do is have the sauce ready and the batter refrigerated. When the time for dessert comes along, I go with a camping gas stove over to the table and make the crepes live! It’s like dinner and a show all in one.
Crepes Suzette Recipe
For the crêpes
- 125 g all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 300 ml milk any type
- 20 g unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature plus more to cook
- 1 lemon juice
- 1 tbsp sugar
For the sauce
- 1 orange
- 110 g unsalted butter
- 90 g sugar
- 80 ml orange juice
- 4 tbsp orange liqueur Cointreau or Grand Marnier
For the crêpes
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a hole in the centre.
- Add the wet ingredients at the centre and whisk from the centre, adding the dry ingredients from the sides little by little to prevent lumps from forming.
- Let rest for 30min in the fridge.
- Place a bit of butter on a non-stick 25cm diameter pan over medium heat and add a ladle of the batter. Make the pan go super vertical so as to help it spread nice and thin.
- When the edges become golden unstick a corner and flip it with your two hands carefully.
For the sauce
- Use a peeler to remove thin layers of orange peel, trying to not remove too much pith. Cut the peels in half so they're not too long and then slice them thinly.
- Add the butter, peels and orange juice to a pan and place over medium heat until it begins o boil.
- Add the liqueur and flambée it or just let it simmer.
- Let the sauce boil until it thickens slightly. If you want a boozy kick, add more liqueur at this point.
- Cover the crepes with the hot sauce and serve immediately.