If you're feeling adventurous this Shrove Tuesday, here's our recipe for crêpes suzette; the classic French dessert, consisting of crêpes flambéed in orange liqueur, which was allegedly created by accident for the future King Edward VII at the Café de Paris in Monte Carlo in 1895. It's quite a tricky recipe, so in case you don't fancy making it yourself, we'll be serving these in the restaurant on Tuesday.
Classic Crêpes Suzette (makes about 16)
For the crêpes
215g plain flour
A large pinch of salt
4 large eggs
400ml semi-skimmed milk with 150ml of water added
75g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan.
The zest of a large orange
For the sauce and to flambé
400ml freshly squeezed orange juice (about 5 oranges)
The zest of 2 oranges
50g caster sugar
120ml Orange Liqueur (we use a premium version made with Armagnac called ‘La Grande Josiane’, which you can find it in TOTI)
100g unsalted butter
Vanilla ice cream to serve
To make the crêpe mix, begin by sifting the flour and salt together in a big mixing bowl and make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Then whisk the eggs and flour together slowly, trying to get rid of any large lumps in the mixture. It’s important not to whisk too much though, particularly if you don’t have time to let the mixture rest before cooking. Add the milk and water mixture in small amounts, whisking until smooth after each addition (This will prevent lumps). Continue to add the milk and water until the mixture has the thickness of thin cream. Add the melted butter and whisk. Leave to rest for a few hours, or overnight.
When ready to make the crêpes, take a frying pan with a large diameter (about 20cm) and place it over a medium-high heat and allow to become hot. Grease the base with a small amount of unsalted butter. When hot, spoon (or use a ladle) enough crêpe mix into the pan to form a layer on the bottom. Tilt the pan so that the mixture forms an even coating. They shouldn’t take long to cook. As the mixture is cooking, use a palette knife to lift the edges of the crêpe to check how it’s cooking. Eventually you should be able to loosen it completely from the bottom of the pan and the bottom of the crêpe should be golden. At this stage, it’s time to decide whether you want to opt for amateur dramatics and flip your crêpes, or alternatively use a palette knife to lift and turn them over. Either way, once they’re flipped over, they’ll just need a little while longer to finish cooking. You can stack the crêpes and reserve for later.
To make the sauce, begin by adding the sugar in a large frying pan. Heat this over a medium heat, and watch it until the sugar begins to caramelise. When it does, shake the pan so that the whole mixture becomes liquid. Be very careful as this will be very hot. As soon as the sugar has become caramel, add the orange juice and zest and stir to make a sauce. Add the orange liqueur to the pan and allow the sauce to catch a flame from the stove. Again, be careful, because the liquid can ignite quite dramatically. Allow the flames to burn out.
Introduce the crêpes to the sauce one at a time, folding each one into triangles before adding the next one. Allow the crêpes to heat from gently and become soaked in the sauce.
To serve, place the triangles on warm plates, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on each. Enjoy!