icon Crêpe Suzette
after Cécile from French Food and Cook

Crêpes Suzette is a French dessert, consisting of a crêpe filled with a hot sauce of caramelized sugar, orange juice, lightly grated orange peel, flambéed with Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Crêpes in general are very thin pancakes made from wheat flour by pouring a thin liquid batter onto a hot frying pan with a trace of butter on the pan's surface. Crêpes originate from Brittany in northwest France, but similar pancakes are also eaten throughout Europe in Austria and Bavaria (Palatschinken); Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic (palačinky); Poland (naleśniki), Hungary (palacsinta) and elsewhere.

The recipe was invented sometime in the late 19th century. One source says it was invented by accident in 1895 at the Café de Paris in Monte Carlo. A fourteen year-old assistant waiter named Henri Carpentier was preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII of England. Charpentier wrote in hi own words in "Life A La Henri – Being The Memories of Henri Charpentier":

"It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought I was ruined. The Prince and his friends were waiting. How could I begin all over? I tasted it. It was, I thought, the most delicious melody of sweet flavors I had every tasted. I still think so. That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste . . . He ate the pancakes with a fork; but he used a spoon to capture the remaining syrup. He asked me the name of that which he had eaten with so much relish. I told him it was to be called Crepes Princesse. He recognized that the pancake controlled the gender and that this was a compliment designed for him; but he protested with mock ferocity that there was a lady present. She was alert and rose to her feet and holding her little shirt wide with her hands she made him a curtsey. ‘Will you,’ said His Majesty, ‘change Crepes Princesse to Crepes Suzette?’ Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman. The next day I received a present from the Prince, a jeweled ring, a panama hat and a cane."
Another theory attributes it to Oscar Tschirky, the maître d'hôtel at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, who published a recipe for "Pancakes, Casino Style" that is identical except the final flambée. Yet another story says that the dish was a specialty at the Parisian restaurant Marie's by 1989.

Suzette Butter

  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 orange (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsp sugar


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau

Basic crêpe preparation

  1. In a bowl combine the flour, eggs, 1/2 cup milk, melted butter, salt, and sugar. Mix well with a whisk. The batter should be very thick. It is easier to get rid of lumps in a thick batter than in a thin one. Work it until it is smooth, then add the other 1/2 cup of milk, the cold water, and the oil. Stir well.
  2. Heat the skillet and butter it lightly for the first crepe. Pour about 2-4 tbsp of batter on one side of the skillet. The amount will vary depending upon the size of the skillet. Immediately tip the skillet, shaking it at the same time to make the batter run all over the bottom. The speed, at which the batter is spread determines the thickness of the crêpe. If you do not move the skillet fast enough, the batter sets before it has a chance to spread and the crêpe will be thick. Practice with the first two crêpes you make.
  3. Cook each crêpe on medium to high heat for about 30 seconds. To flip, bang the skillet on a pot holder on the corner of the stove to get the crêpe loose, then flip it over.
Preparing Crêpes Suzette
  1. Wash and dry the orange. Remove the zest with a zester or vegetable peeler. Press the orange for juice.
  2. In a non-stick frying pan or a shallow sauté pan, combine the juice, the zest, sugar, unsalted butter and Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Simmer until the orange peels are no longer visible and the whole mixture is a uniform orange color, about 5 minutes.
  3. Place one crêpe in and fold it with into fourths using a fork. Move it to the side of the pan and repeat with remaining crêpes.
  4. When all the crêpes are in the pan, spread them with 1 tbsp sugar.
  5. Prepare the flambée: in a small saucepan, heat 4 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau, light it and pour it flaming over the crêpes. Incline the pan with the crêpes slightly so that the flaming juices concentrate in the space left. Spoon the still burning liquid repeatedly over the crêpes until the flames die out.
  6. Serve immediately. Serve two crêpes per person with some of the sauce. Garnish with blood orange slices and if you like sprinkle confectioner's sugar across top. At Loewys Bistro in Jakarta, they put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

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Last updated: October 12, 2010