Crêpes Suzette

Note: This 1960s staple of fancy dinner parties is a light finisher with a scrumptious orange punch. It’s no more trouble than a cake or a pie (you can make everything in advance and assemble at the last minute), and it’s a nice change of pace. Do watch long hair when striking the match, however.


Ingredients:

Servings: 6


For the batter:

¾ cup milk

¾ cup cold water

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons orange liqueur

1½ cups sifted flour

5 tablespoons butter


For the orange butter:

4 large lumps sugar

2 oranges

¼ cup sugar

8 ounces butter

2/3 cup orange juice, strained

3 tablespoons orange liqueur


For the finale:

2 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup orange liqueur

1/3 cup cognac (don’t skimp, that gives the dish its famous kick)


Method:

Place the batter ingredients in a blender in the order listed. Blend at top speed for 1 minute. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours.

Brush a 7-inch crêpe pan, iron skillet or nonstick frying pan with oil over moderately high heat until it just begins to smoke.

Remove from the heat and pour a scant ¼ cup batter into the middle of the pan and swirl until it covers the entire bottom (pour any batter that doesn’t adhere back into the bowl.)

Return the pan to the heat for 60-80 seconds. Jerk the pan back and forth to loosen the crêpe. Lift the edges with a spatula. If the underside is light brown, the crêpe is ready to turn. (My own non-French method is to smack the crêpe out of the pan onto a paper towel then return the other side to the pan for final cooking.)

Flip it over and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side. (The second side is rarely more than a spotty brown and is always kept as the nonpublic aspect of the crêpe.)

Slide the crêpe onto a plate and cook the remaining batter in the same way, stacking the crêpes as you go and keeping them covered with a towel. They’ll keep in the refrigerator until ready to use that night.

To prepare the orange butter, rub the sugar lumps over the oranges until all sides have absorbed the oranges’ oil. Peel the skin of the oranges with a peeler, taking care not to remove the pith.

Put the lumps, peel and sugar into a food processor fitted with a knife blade and pulse until the peel is finely chopped (Child does it by hand, but that was 50 years ago.)

Put the butter and peel/sugar mixture into a bowl and cream with an electric mixer until fluffy. By drops, beat the juice and the liqueur into the butter, making a thick cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Place the orange butter in a chafing dish (a pan works fine, too, but isn’t as elegant) and heat to bubbling. Dip both sides of the crêpe in the butter, fold in half and half again. Place it at the edge of the dish and continue dipping, folding and arranging the rest of the crêpes.

For the finale, sprinkle the crêpes with the sugar. Pour the liqueurs over them and averting your face, light the liquid. Shake the chafing dish gently back and forth and spoon the flaming liqueur over the crêpes until the fire dies down. (A dollop of whipped cream cuts the kick, if you prefer.)

Recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.