Thin, tender crepes are one of my favorite pancakes – though, admittedly, I like them all – because they are so versatile. The relatively plain batter can easily be made savory or sweet, depending on what you’re in the mood for. When I want something simple, I just spread my favorite preserves onto freshly made crepes and roll them up. When I want to do something a bit fancier, I make Crepes Suzette.
Crepes Suzette are a classic French dessert where crepes are cooked in a sweet buttery sauce that is infused with orange and Grand Marnier. The dessert is actually quite easy to make because they are all about the sauce. For these crepes, I make a very simple twist on my favorite basic crepe recipe. I substitute part of the milk for water, which makes the crepes just a bit stronger and easier to handle, and I add in a little bit of vanilla extract because the flavor goes nicely with the orange sauce, without making the crepes themselves sweet. The sauce that surrounds the crepes is flavorful enough!
The sauce begins with softened butter, which is whipped with sugar, orange juice and orange zest. The butter is then cooked in a skillet until it is completely melted and Grand Marnier is added. The crepes are added to the pan one by one and completely coated in the sauce, then folded up neatly so that layers of butter sit between layers of crepe.
This dish is often flambeed, by adding brandy or another spirit to the hot skillet at the very end of cooking, while the crepes are cooking in the sauce. I do enjoy the effect, but it’s not really necessary to get good results from the dish (unless you want to make it boozier, in which case add in a 1/4 cup of brandy!). I will do the flambee if I happen to be entertaining, however I enjoy making this dish for myself, as well, and I don’t always need the extra entertainment! The crepes should be served almost immediately after cooking, giving each person one crepe and a generous amount of sauce. If you are serving a larger crowd, make the crepes and sauce in batches and transfer them to a buttered casserole dish in a warm oven to keep them at temperature until you’re ready to serve everyone.
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
4 large eggs
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Suzette Butter (per four crepes)
6 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice (pref. freshly squeezed)
1 tbsp orange zest
2-3 tbsp Grand Marnier
(optional 1/4 cup Brandy)
Make the Crepes
In the food processor, combine all the ingredients for the crepes. Whizz the ingredients together until very smooth. Transfer batter to a large measuring cup for easy pouring.
Heat a nonstick skillet to over medium-high heat and lightly grease.
Pour a small amount (1/4 cup for a 8-10-inch skillet) into the center of the pan, grab the handle of the pan and give it a swirl, until the batter spreads out into an even layer. This must be done quickly.
Cook the crepe until it is just set on top, then flip and cook the second side until it is very lightly browned.
Set cooked crepes aside, layering them with pieces of wax or parchment paper to prevent sticking. Crepes maybe prepared one day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.
Makes 8-10 crepes.
Assemble the Sauce and Crepes
In a medium bowl, beat together butter, sugar, orange juice and orange zest until well combined.
Transfer butter mixture into a large 10-inch skillet and allow it to melt over medium heat. Add in Grand Marnier.
Place one crepe in the sauce, turn to coat and then fold the crepe into quarters. Scoot the crepe to one side of the pan and repeat with three additional crepes. If you want to flambee your crepes, add the brandy and use a long match to light it on fire. Allow the flame to burn out before serving.
Serve crepes immediately, topped with additional sauce.