Saturday 29 December 2007

Recipe: Crêpes Suzette

Another dish that appears inexplicably to have fallen from grace, and certainly from restaurant menus. Speaking of it over dinner last night, somebody referred to Crêpes Suzette as 'that quintessentially sixties dish' (before proceeding to relate a story of a Mrs Murray, châtelaine of a grand Scottish country house, who managed to ignite herself along with the dessert, which had been brought to table by the butler for her to apply the match. An excess of hair lacquer explained the rest - another manifestation of the sixties, I suppose - and, having been extinguished by the quick-thinking and damask napkin of one of her guests - for the remainder of dinner she had to sit beneath the ruins of her coiffure, to which absolutely no comment was made by her fellow diners).
Anyway, the dish is another one long overdue for resurrection - the velvety richness of the pancakes in their delicious and unctuous sauce is quite incomparable, and the process of making them could hardly be more straightforward......

For four.

Ingredients: 2 Eggs; 80g Flour; 80g butter (melted and cooled); 150 ml milk; a pinch of salt; 3 tablespoons of Oil;10 tablespoons Cointreau (or Maraschino, or Grandmarnier - depends which you have to-hand); finely-gated rind of one Lemon; 4 tablespoons Sugar; 40g Butter (for reheating the Crêpes).


1. In a blender, combine Eggs, Flour, Milk, melted Butter, and Salt. Process for about thirty seconds until thoroughly combined (if necessary, use a spatula to clean from the sides of the blender jar any flour which has stuck there, and process again, to ensure all is completely mixed in).

2. Oil the base of a frying pan, and over a medium/high heat use the batter to make eight Crêpes, re-oiling the pan in between each one. (Some authorities would have you let the batter rest for 30 minutes before use - personally, I've never seen the point and use it straightaway).

You can either use the Crêpes immediately, or else cover them in cling-film for use later in the day - best not to leave them until the following day, though.

3. Fold each Crêpe in half, and then in half again, to make a fan shape.

4. Melt the Butter in a large frying pan, then add the grated rind and half of the Cointreau. If cooking on an electric hob, use a match to light the alcohol; if using gas, merely tip the pan in order to let the alcohol fumes catch. As the alcohol burns off, gently tip the pan, to ensure the base of the pan is entirely covered in the butter/cointreau mixture.

5. When the fumes have died down, place the folded Crêpes in a single layer in the pan; sprinkle them with Sugar, and then pour over them the remaining Cointreau. Repeat the process of lighting the alcohol, and gently rotate the pan to baste the Crêpes with the flaming liquid. As soon as the flames have died down, serve. (NB: if your pan isn't large enough to accommodate all Crêpes in a single layer, do them in two stages; do NOT try to cook them in two layers, as they won't heat through properly!)

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