Where does Crepe Suzette come from?
Crepe Suzette is a Frenchdessert consisting of a crêpe with beurre Suzette, a sauce
of caramelized sugar and butter, tangerineor orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier or
orange Curaçao liqueur on top, prepared in a tableside performance, flambé.
What is the origin of Crepe Suzette?
The origin of the dish and its name is disputed. One claim is that it was created from a mistake made by a fourteen-year- old assistant waiter Henri Charpentier in 1895 at the Maitre at Monte, Carlos Café de Paris. He was preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, whose guests included a beautiful French girl named Suzette. This story was told by Charpentier himself in Life à la Henri, his autobiography, although later contradicted by the Larousse Gastronomique.
Different sources (like the Larousse Gastronomique) however doubt that Charpentier, rather
than the head waiter, was serving the prince, because he would have been too young. A less
fantastical version emerges from Elsie Lee’s interview with him in the 1950s. The addition of liqueur was au courant among chefs in Paris at the time.
The other claim states that the dish was named in honour of French actress Suzanne
Reichenberg (1853–1924), who worked professionally under the name Suzette. In 1897,
Reichenberg appeared in the Comédie Française in the role of a maid, during which she served crêpes on stage. Monsieur Joseph, owner of Restaurant Marivaux, provided the crêpes. He decided to flambé the thin pancakes to attract the audience’s attention and keep the food warm for the actors consuming them. Joseph was subsequently director of the Paillard Restaurant in Paris and was later with the Savoy Hotel in London.
In 1896, Oscar Tschirky published the recipe as "Pancakes, Casino Style" with everything in place except the final flambé. Escoffier described Crêpes Suzette in the English version of his Guide Culinaire in 1907 (French 1903) the same way, also without the final flambé. The dish was already a specialty of the French restaurant Maries by 1898.
For the crepes:
½ L of milk.
200 g of flour.
40 g of butter.
For the pastry cream:
1 L of milk.
2 branches of natural vanilla.
200 g of sugar. 100 g of cornflour.
12 egg yolks.
50 g of butter.
The juice of two oranges.
2 spoons of butter.
2 spoons of brown sugar.
1 small cup of orange liquor.
Time of preparation: 1 hour.
How to cook Crepe Suzette:
First step: Crepes preparation.
The first step consists in the preparation of the base for this dish: the crepes. For that, we are going to melt the butter and mix it with the milk.
When the butter is completely diluted in the milk we should add the rest of the ingredients for
the dough, and stir everything very well to avoid lumps. Let the dough resting for 15 minutes
and, in the meantime you can start preparing the cream.
After these 15 minutes, take a pan and put it on the fire, cover the surface with some butter
and wait until it is hot. Put now some dough until you cover the base of the pan with a thin
layer. When the dough is set, turn very carefully the dough over and let it cook on the other
Repeat the same operation adding thin layers in the pan until you finish the dough.
Top Tip: if we let lumps appear, when we fry the dough, there will be raw flour inside the
lumps and, for sure, that will spoil your dish.
Top Tip: is important to take a non-stick pan, if the dough get stuck to the pan while frying,
that crepe is going directly to the bin.
Second step: Pastry cream preparation.
Open the vanilla pods and take the seeds out, using a knife to help.
Now take a pot and put the milk inside, add the vanilla seeds and the pods, turn on the heat
and leave the milk there until it boils.
In the meantime, sieve the cornflour and mix it with the sugar, add here the egg yolks and stir everything with energy. When the milk start boiling, turn off the heat and add a little stream of the milk to the cornflour that we mixed with the sugar and the eggs.
When everything is correctly mixed, add all this mixture to the rest of the hot milk and
continue stirring with a bar until the egg yolks are cooked and the milk acquires a pale-yellow
Once we have a soft and homogenous cream without lumps, we should put it into a bowl and wait until it is warm. Then, is time to add the butter, stir very well until we have a really
creamy and soft mixture. Cover the bowl with transparent film and put the bowl into the
Top Tip: Again, when you stir the cornflour with the eggs and the milk, be very careful with the lumps, we don’t want to trash our dish because of them!
Top Tip: when you are the flour with the eggs to the milk, be careful to never stop stirring
them because, in that case, the yolks are going to set into pieces instead of cook diluted in the milk.
When the pastry cream is cold, is time to spread it on the surface of the crepes. After this,
bend the crepes until you have a triangle, put two spoons of butter in a pan and, when it is
completely melted, add 2 spoons of sugar, stir until the sugar is diluted in the butter, when this happens, put the crepes inside the pan.
Before it is cold, pour the liquor cup on the crepes and flambé. When the fire is over, add the
orange juice and cook for 2 minutes.
Now is time to serve, put the crepes on a plate and decorate with pieces of orange.
Top Tip: be very careful with the sugar in the pan, don’t let it to burn because as soon as it
happens it provides a sour burned flavour.