It is soon the celebration of candlemas in France, which is also known as “crêpes day”. The perfect occasion to make some authentic crêpes Suzette, served with a Grand Marnier butter orange (or mandarin) filling.
Every year on the 2nd of February, we celebrate in France Candlemas (la chandeleleur). Originally a Christian celebration occuring 40 days after Christmas, Chandeleur is now most known for young and old alike as crêpes day, and generations have kept alive a collection of traditions and customs around the making of crêpes. Everyone have at home a basic crêpes recipe that he/she makes regularly. It is indeed, together with the yogurt cake, the very first recipe I have learned myself when being a child.
Since then, my relationship to crêpes have always been precious. When still being a child, my parents sometimes took the family to a crêperie, and I remember how proud I was in Brittany once when I managed to finish the biggest crêpe of the menu. My mom who eats like a bird, was impressed! Later on, when in gymnasium, I met one of my best friends, Marie, who happened to have grown up in a crêperie (this typically French restaurant where they serve galettes and crêpes exclusively). In the end, we both happened to end up there quite often, and it became one of my favorite spot.
And the story is not over, as many years later when I first arrived in Stockholm, I started to work as a waitress in a crêperie on the side of my regular day job (that was more of an office job, but that didn’t pay enough at the time). I absolutely loved this experience: I met fabulous people there, and I had a lot of fun trying out the different crêpes of the menu as I could of course have them for free (yes, it’s dangerous!). I really felt home in this tiny little place, and even if by the time I couldn’t admit it to myself, it was already when working food that I felt the most happy.
On the blog, I shared different crêpes recipes over the last few years. Among them, my elegant Chocolate-Mango filled Beggar’s Purses, and also my French Crêpes with Goat Cheese and Salted Caramel. Today, I am sharing with you another favorite of mine, and maybe the most classic French crêpes recipe known from abroad: the classic crêpes Suzettes, a crêpe recipe consisting of a delicious orange or mandarin sauce (depending on your tastes) and Grand Marnier, prepared in a tableside performance, flambé!
There are different legends behind the origins of the dish, but my favorite one is about a fourteen-year-old assistant waiter named Henri Carpentier, who back in 1895 was working at the Maitre at Monte Carlo’s Café de Paris, when the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom) came to visit. Henri was busy preparing the dessert when the cordials would have accidentally caught fire. He first thought the dish was ruined and was almost ready to do it all over again, when curious about the thing, he tasted it. As he describes in his autobiography “Life à la Henri”, he thought it was the most delicious medley of sweet flavors he had ever tasted.
So he served the dish to the Prince, and he absolutely loved it. As he was there with a beautiful French girl named Suzette, the Prince simply suggested to name the dish “crêpes Suzettes”. Many sources have then discussed this version, arguing that the waiter would have been too young to serve the Prince, which is probably true. However, I still love this idea of a mistake resulting in a beautiful dish (even if it’s quite a common thing in French cooking: tarte tatin, crème renversée, etc.).
Legend or reality, I hope you liked this little story about crêpes Suzette, and I hope you will soon try this amazing French classic that is actually easy to make but always impresses the guests… and their taste buds too!
- 1 tbsp (12g) melted butter
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (25 cl) milk
- 2 tbsp oil for cooking
- 2 mandarins, juice + zests
- ¼ cup (50g) softened butter
- ¼ cup (50g) sugar
- ¼ cup (5 cl) Grand Marnier
- Grate the zest of one mandarin* and squeeze the juice of the two fruits.
- For the crêpes: pour flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and the melted butter. Whisk vigorously and slowly start to pour in a little milk, mixing as you pour, to keep the batter smooth. Pour in the rest of the milk until it looks smooth. Cover the bowl and let sit for 2 hours.
- In another bowl, stir the softened butter with the sugar, the mandarin juice and the zest.
- Heat a 15cm/6in crêpe pan and grease with oil using a piece of paper towel. Pour in a ladle of dough by tilting the pan in all directions to distribute the dough well. Heat until the surface is cooked, then flip the pancakes and cook the other surface for about a minute, or until the crepe becomes lightly blonde. Proceed the same with the remaining batter.
- Fill each crêpe with a little bit of the mandarin sauce, fold into 4, and place on an oven-proof baking dish to keep them warm in the oven.
- When ready to serve, heat the Grand Marnier in a small saucepan, pour onto the crêpes, and flambe in front of the guests.