Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Celebrate Pancake Day with Crêpes Suzettes

Today is Pancake Day here in the British Isles, also known as Shrove Tuesday. Often called Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras elsewhere in the world, Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent in the Christian calendar. Traditionally, making pancakes was a way of using up rich food before the 40 days fasting for Lent began

My family loves pancakes and my husband likes savoury ones best, but I have a sweet tooth and prefer mine with sugar and lemon, maple syrup, golden syrup, jam or ice cream - my friend Mary adds sultanas to her pancakes. But my all-time favourite pancake recipe is Crêpes Suzettes which is not British at all, but French. My mother was a fantastic Cordon Bleu cook and used to make these for us when we were children, and I still enjoy them just as much now as I did then

Anyway, Crêpes Suzettes are thin pancakes served flambé with a sauce of caramelized sugar, butter, orange juice, orange zest, and Grand Marnier. If you're nervous about setting fire to your creation, or worried that you might set your kitchen alight, then just miss out the flambé step. Anyway,  here is an easy version of my favourite pancake recipe for you to try at home - you'll need about half an hour in total

Photo: Marco del Grande

Ingredients:
200ml / 7fl oz milk
75ml / 3fl oz water
150ml / 5fl oz orange juice
110g / 4oz / 1 cup plain flour and a pinch of salt
Some butter
2 eggs

Grated zest of 2 medium size oranges
Grated zest of 1 small lemon
Caster sugar
Grand Marnier (or other orange-flavoured liqueur)

Make the Crêpes (this stage can be done in advance)
1. Sieve plain flour and salt into a large mixing bowl
2. Whisk in 2 eggs and a knob of butter
3. Continue whisking while you gradually add the milk and water
4. Whisk until you have a smooth batter, like thin cream
5. Stir in ½ of the orange zest and 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
6. You can leave the batter to stand for a while if you like
7. Heat a small 18cm / 7in frying pan greased with a little butter
8. Pour a small amount of batter into the hot pan, and tip the pan to coat it evenly
9. Don't make the crêpes too thick - they're supposed to be thin and lacy!
10. Cook for half a minute or so until golden, then flip or turn it over with a fish slice
11. Cook the other side for half a minute then slide onto a warm plate
12. Repeat until you've used all the mixture and you have about 12 crêpes
13. Don't worry if the crêpes are odd shapes, they're going to be folded later

Make the Sauce
1. Melt a large knob of butter in the frying pan
2. Pour in the orange juice and a good slug of Grand Marnier (at least 3 tablespoons)
3. Stir in the lemon zest, the other ½ of the orange zest and 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
4. Heat the sauce very gently
5. When the sauce is hot, add one crêpe and warm it through
6. Fold the crêpe in half, and then fold it in half again.
7. Remove the crêpe from the pan and keep warm
8. Repeat with the rest of the crêpes
9. Pour any remaining sauce over the pile of crêpes
10. Optional: pour a slug of Grand Marnier over the top and set the alcohol alight
11. Serve with good quality vanilla ice cream

Enjoy!
Note: the measurements used here are imperial, metric and American equivalent. Don't mix them up!

© Erika Price . All rights reserved.