Pour les Gourmands and Gastronomes: Crêpes Suzette Posted by mtaulier on Mar 3, 2014 in Cooking, History
La cuisine est une passion Française (Cuisine is a French passion). Beginning in the 17th century, gastronomy reached new heights among la noblesse (the nobility) and the art of fine cuisine was refined over the course of several centuries. The stereotype of a French chef often seen in cartoons does not stray too far from the truth. Today, most of the top chefs in the world can claim to have honed their skills in the finest culinary schools in France and are intimately familiar with the Larousse Gastronomique, the bible of French cuisine first printed in 1938.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to a typically French dessert known as crêpes Suzette. You are no doubt already familiar with crêpes, a thin pancake famous for its versatility. Que préférez-vous (What do you prefer)? Sucré ou salé (sweet or savory)? Chaud ou froid (hot or cold)? Crêpes can be eaten for le petit déjeuner (breakfast), le déjeuner (lunch) or le dîner (dinner).
Crêpes Suzette are unique in that they are made with Grand Marnier (which can be substituted with orange Curaçao) liqueur and are served flambé (flamed). They are always sweet are served as a dessert à la fin du repas (at the end of the meal). The name Suzette comes from a special kid of “butter” called beurre Suzette made of sucre (sugar), beurre (butter), orange ou citron (orange or lemon) and Grand Marnier liqueur. The crêpes in crêpes Suzette are traditional crêpes made with flour, eggs and milk but it is the process of bathing them in beurre Suzette and then flaming them that turns them into crêpes Suzette.
There are two schools of thought regarding the flaming process. Some believe that crêpes cannot be called crêpes Suzette unless they have been flamed while others believe the flaming process is merely for show. Crêpes Suzette are delicious either way et c’est à vous de choisir (and the choice is yours).
Keep in mind that using Grand Marnier liqueur is la méthode traditionelle (the traditional method) of preparing crêpes Suzette. Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored Cognac made from Cognac brandy, sugar and bitter orange essence. As mentioned previously, Curaçao liqueur can be used in place of Grand Marnier thanks to its citrus flavor. Other liqueurs can be added such as Cointreau, kirsch, etc. Using signature French liqueurs like Grand Marnier and Cointreau will bring out the classic Suzette flavors but experiment with different liqueurs as there are no hard and fast rules. As the French say, vive la différence!