Straight from the chef of the Scenic Diamond River Cruise - Crêpes Suzette!
You could call this a retro recipe - I prefer to think of it as tried and true!
We participated in the on board cooking class one afternoon. At the outset I was mildly interested... by the end I was an avid convert!
So French - classic everyday ingredients with a couple of star flavours to make it special. In this case it is Grand Marnier and Cognac.
Oh... and the simple dish of crêpes drowned in a boozy, orange sauce was further adorned with a scoop of amazing rich, vanilla ice cream!
The was a lot of eye rolling and mmmms going around the cooking station when it came time to devour the fruits of his efforts!
While still simple to make -this recipe has a few extra items that I didn't see in other similar recipes.
Chef's Tips for Crêpes
The addition of lemon and orange zest to the crêpe batter is unusual. I have to admit I don't think you would miss it once the crêpes are swimming in the orange sauce - BUT - I sampled a corner of a crêpe that had torn off and it was surprising how much citrus flavour the plain crêpe had. So... I am sure the addition builds another layer of flavour to the end result.
The batter will be much thinner than a pancake batter. It sits for 30 minutes (or more if you like). I always thought it was to let the air bubbles smooth out the chef said it lets the gluten develop. So.. I think it is a worthwhile step as well.
The best pan for the crepes is an 8 or 10" non-stick skillet. Ideally the crepe just fills the flat bottom of the skillet. That helps keep a smooth even edge. Swirl the batter in the skillet to help it spread and thin out.
If the crepes are too thick they will crack when you fold them in quarters to serve.
The Chef says that the first crepe or 2 to be cooked may be discards until the pan is fully heated and seasoned and you get the timing of the cooking down.
Che'fs Tips for Sauce
The first step for the sauce is to make a caramel with the butter and sugar. I gave it an initial stir but after that don't stir. I gently swirled the pan a couple of times. It took several minutes for the sauce to turn a lovely caramel colour.
When I added the fresh orange juice the caramel sauce seized (turned solid) but as the orange juice heats up and the caramel gets warm again it will melt and integrate with the orange juice.
When you flambé the sauce- remove the skillet from the heat. I use a BBQ lighter (because it has a long stem to keep your hands away from the flames.) Gently shake the pan to help quell the flames.
Recipes vary- Grand Marnier is essential for the citrus flavour. You can substitute Brandy for the Cognac or omit the Cognac as many recipes do. The sauce will still be amazing -but it won't be quite as decadent.
What a bonus - you can make and prep so much of this recipe ahead that in the end you only need to flambé, heat and serve!
I made the crepes ahead of time and froze them! I made sure to separate each crepe with parchment paper so they wouldn't stick together. They defrosted nicely on the counter the day I planned to serve them.
I also made the sauce up to the point of adding the Grand Marnier and Cognac and reduced it to ⅓ early in the day. I just left it in the skillet until I was ready to add the booze and flambé. Then I added the crepes long enough for them to heat through.
If you did get Coganc for this recipe then you definitely want to know about this Steak Diane that uses it in the rich sauce!
Pairing For Crêpes Suzette
Serve a snifter of the same Brandy or Cognac you used in the sauce.
Scenic Cruise Recipe: Crêpes Suzette
- 175 grams all purpose flour 1 cup + 2.5 Tbsps
- 35 grams white sugar 3.5 Tbsps
- 1 gram salt pinch
- 435 grams whole milk 3 ¾ cup (can sub sparkling water)
- 175 grams eggs 4 large
- 45 grams butter melted 3 ¼ Tbps
- 1 gram lemon zest zest of 1 lemon
- 1 gram orange zest zest of 1 orange
- 130 grams butter 9 Tbsps
- 110 grams white sugar ½ cup
- 425 grams fresh orange uice 1 ¾ cups
- 85 grams fresh lemon juice ⅓ cup
- 5 grams orange zest zest of approx 4 large oranges
- 90 grams Grand Marnier ½ cup
- 60 grams Cognac 5 Tbsps See Note 2.
- Vanilla ice cream for serving
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour and eggs.
- Whisk in the milk.
- Whisk in salt and sugar slowly, wisking to incorporate fully.
- Pass the batter through a seive pressing out all lumps.
- Add melted butter and zest. Mix well and allow batter to rest 30 minutes (or more).
- Stir before using.
- Heat a medium non-stick sauce pan over medium heat. You may choose to add a bit of butter to the pan for the first crêpe. (The first crêpe will probably be a discard until the pan gets seasoned and fully heated). Scoop out 3-4 Tbsps of batter. Working quickly, tip the pan and swirl the batter evenly to the outer edge of the pan (about 8" round). Cook on the first side 2-3 minutes until crêpe just starts to colour and there are steam pockets rising up. Flip carefully and cook another minute on the second side. (The cooking time may shorten to 1-2 minutes for the first side as you pan heats up.)Transfer crepes to a platter. Put parchment between the layers of crêpes to keep them from sticking to each other. See Note 1:
- You can make crêpes up to a day ahead. You can also freeze the crepes with parchment paper between them. Defrost at room temperature and then proceed with the sauce recipe.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and stir once. Allow mixture to simmer over medium heat until it caramelizes to a golden brown. This may take 8-10 minutes. Add the orange juice and lemon juice and stir well to incorporate sugar. Add the orange zest. Note - if the caramel turns solid when you add the cold juice just stir constantly until the juice heats up and re-melts the caramel. Simmer sauce until it reduces by halve and coats the back of a spoon.You can make the sauce up to this point a number of hours before you plan to serve it but keep it at room temperature. Reheat to simmering before proceeding with the next step.
- Add the Grand Marnier and Cognac. Ignite the liqueur and shake the pan to allow the flames to dissipate. Fold the crepes in half and then half again. Add to the simmering sauce and allow crepes to heat through.
- Serve 2 crêpes per person with a generous amount of sauce. Garnish with vanilla ice cream if desired. (Recommended)