Crêpe Suzette

Source: Fine Cooking #116 (also at FineCooking.com)

When I cook a new dish, it’s usually a planned event. But these crêpes Suzette were an impromptu weeknight dinner inspired by a half-case of clementines. Crêpe Suzette is a crêpe served with a butter-orange-caramel sauce.

This recipe is a variation of the traditional crêpe Suzette by using clementine juice instead of orange juice. So feel free to use orange or tangerine juice if you have that on hand.

I’ve never had crêpe Suzette before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. There were 2 surprises:

  • Incredible depth of flavour, with a great balance of sweetness and bitterness, inherited from both the caramel and the clementine juice.
  • Incredibly filling. One crêpe will make a nice dessert. Two crêpes will make a large dessert or lunch. Four crêpes will make a very satisfying dinner.

If you’ve never made crêpes before, don’t worry. I’m not going to say they’re easy, but with a bit of concentration, any amateur cook can pull them off. I happen to have a crêpe pan (thanks, Mom and Dad), but they can be made in a regular non-stick skillet. The key is non-stick… you want them to slide nicely in the pan so you can flip them with ease.

Your first crêpe or two might not be great, but with practice they start to come more easily. There are a few key things to keep in mind for the perfect crêpe:

  • The batter must be the right consistency. It should run like heavy cream… no thicker.
  • Start swirling the batter in the pan as you’re pouring it. If you wait until you’ve poured it all before you swirl, it will have set too much.
Making crêpes for crêpe Suzette

Making crêpes for crêpe Suzette

Now for the Suzette part. There are countless recipes for the Suzette sauce. This recipe starts by caramelizing sugar and honey, then adding the clementine juice and finishing with butter. (Some recipes will then add Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur so that the crêpes can be flambéed before serving, while other sources indicate that crêpe Suzette should never be flambéed.)

Once the sauce is done, the crêpes are folded in quarters, dipped in the sauce and served. This recipe serves the crêpes with whipped cream lightly sweetened with powered sugar and flavoured with Grand Marnier. Others simply dust with powdered sugar, and may serve with a fruit compote. However you finish them, they’re delicious. No wonder they’re a French classic!

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