Classic crêpes suzette
Ingredients For the crepes (6)
- 110g/4oz plain flour, sifted
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 200ml/7fl oz milk mixed with 75ml/3fl oz water
- 50g/2oz butter
- 1 medium orange, grated zest only
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
For the sauce
- 150ml/5fl oz orange juice (from 3-4 medium oranges)
- 1 medium orange, grated zest only
- 1 small lemon, grated rind and juice
- tbsp caster sugar
- tbsp Grand Marnier, Cointreau or brandy
- 50g/2oz unsalted butter
- a little extra Grand Marnier, for flaming
- Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with a sieve held high above the bowl so the flour gets an airing. Now make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs – any sort of whisk or even a fork will do – incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so.
- Next gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking (don’t worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk). When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any elusive bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream. Now melt the 50g/2oz of butter in a pan. Spoon 2 tbsp of it into the batter and whisk it in, then pour the rest into a bowl and use it to lubricate the pan, using a wodge of kitchen paper to smear it round before you make each pancake. Stir the orange zest and caster sugar into the batter.
- Now get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and, to start with, do a test pancake to see if you’re using the correct amount of batter. These little crepes should be thinner than the basic pancakes, so when you’re making them, use ½ tbsp of batter at a time in a 18cm/7in pan. It’s also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it’s tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over with a pan slice or palette knife – the other side will need a few seconds only – then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate. If the pancakes look a little bit ragged in the pan, no matter because they are going to be folded anyway. You should end up with 15-16 crepes.
- Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest.
- For the sauce, mix all the ingredients – with the exception of the butter – in a bowl. At the same time warm the plates on which the crepes are going to be served. Now melt the butter in the frying pan, pour in the sauce and allow it to heat very gently. Then place the first crepes in the pan and give it time to warm through before folding it in half and then in half again to make a triangular shape. Slide this onto the very edge of the pan, tilt the pan slightly so the sauce runs back into the centre, then add the next crepe. Continue like this until they’re all re-heated, folded and well soaked with the sauce.
You can flame them at this point if you like. Heat a ladle by holding it over a gas flame or by resting it on the edge of a hotplate, then, away from the heat, pour a little liqueur or brandy into it, return it to the heat to warm the spirit, then set light to it. Carry the flaming ladle to the table over the pan and pour the flames over the crepes before serving on the warmed plates