Sunday, February 10, 2013

Crepe suzette

Crepe Suzette, a classic that will never go out of fashion

Even though crepes can be traced back to anciant Rome but it is with the French that these very thin pancakes were made famous. In medieval times, crepes were consumed during the Shrove Tuesday, also know to many as Mardi Gras. The delicate thin crepes we know now and love so much were born in Brittany (La Bretagne), which is a northern region of France with a rich culinary history.

There is something special about any recipe carrying the name of a person. You are almost certain that the recipe has a story, a history which makes it a bit more special. Crepe Suzette, many attribute its creation to Chef  Henri Carpentier, who claimed the invention of this crepe in 1896. The crepe caught on flame by accident, Carpentier thought it was ruined but when he tasted it, he was surprised by the harmony of flavors. This new crepe was served to the Prince of Wales who was pleased by the taste of the delicacy. Asking for the name of the dessert, Carpentier told him it is called Crepe Princesse (Princess Crepe), but the Prince of Wales preferred to change the name to Crepe Suzette in honor of a beautiful lady who was with them at the table.

Another story says that the owner of the Marivaux restaurant was hired provide crepes for a comedy play starring actress Suzanne Reinchenberg, artistically known as Suzette.  The crepes preparation was part of the show and to attract the attention of the audience, they were flambee at the end. Since then crepes Suzette became a hit and consumed worldwide.

Making crepes is easy and fun and so versatile, with countless savory or sweet fillings that you can cook up.
It´s orange season, so my choice of crepe was made easier, especially that I have cointreau bottle lying in the cupboard. As always,  I like to add a personal touch to the classics. Orange and chocolate go extremely well together, and since crepe Suzette is an orange delight I decided to add dark chocolate ganache to my crepes.
Use a combination of oranges if possible for a more complex flavor

For 6 crepes you need:
  • 1 egg
  • 62 g flour
  • 12 g melted butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • zest of half an orange 
  • 100 ml of milk
  • 25 ml orange juice (I used normal and blood orange)
  • Pinch of salt
First whisk the eggs slightly, add the salt and the sugar, whisk again until well combined, add 1/3 of the milk mix well and thoroughly until you get a smooth batter (adding small quantity of milk will prevent the formation of clumps). Add the melted butter and whisk, orange zest and juice, mix well and at last add the remaining milk and continue mixing. Leave the batter to rest for at least an hour in the fridge which allows all the flavors to mix well.
Stack your cooked and cooled crepes on top of eachother

In a non stick pan, bake your crepes by adding a small amount of batter and swirl the pan to cover the surface with the crepe mix. It will take maybe 2 min or 3 for the crepe to be done, flip it on the other side and leave it for another min. 
For the ganache
  • 150 g chopped dark chocolate
  • 80 g  cream (35 per cent)
  • Tsp of  of cointreau (sweet orange liquor)
Heat the cream, (be careful not to burn it) and pour it slowly over the chocolate, when they are well combined add the cointreau.
Stuff the crepe with a decent amount of dark chocolate ganache

For the sauce:
  • 250 ml orange juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • tsp butter
  • 30 ml cointreau or grand marinier
Before I started doing the sauce, I sauteed some orange slices with a teaspoon of butter, and in the same pan (without washing) I added the sugar, when it starts melting add the orange juice and let it simmer for few minutes.
At this point you can add the crepes and let them cook a bit, add the orange liquor and tilt the pan over so slightly until it liquor catches the falme (flambee), or you can light a flame above the pan and the liquor will catch it.
However, you might be interested to do what I did. I waited for the orange juice to start thickening and then I added the cointreau (or grand marinier) and flambee and when the flame turns off the syrup is ready. You will use this sauce to drizzle over the crepes instead of cooking them in it. 

Add a tbsp or 2 of ganache to a crepe. Now, you can roll it or get the sides together and tie it with an candied orange strip, drizzle with the sauce and serve with the orange slices.

Believe me, the result is well worth the effort.
Orange, crepe, and dark chocolate, what a combination!

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