Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Crêpes Suzette

In the seventies I was charmed by The Magic Pan restaurants.  I ate there at every opportunity.  After visiting the original in San Francisco I bought this pan to make my very own, just like they did at The Magic Pan.  This pan is also why I am so intimidated at the thought of making crêpes.  I've tried many a time since the seventies but it never produced anything but frustration.  After each attempt I was only left with a lack of self confidence.

There is a blog called The Bitten Word that is on my daily reading list.   Zach and Clay (the creators) threw out a fun challenge a couple of weeks ago.  The challenge is to cook every recipe in the October issue of six food magazines.

From the list of people who signed up to participate, teams were created for each magazine.  They assigned me to Team Saveur.  Then they assigned each team member a recipe from that magazine and they assigned me with the task of making Crêpes Suzette.  I immediately thought "holy crap they're going to make me face my fear".

And I did face it.  And I pulled out that inverted crêpe pan again.  And I ruined the first two crêpes.  And I tossed that pan aside and pulled out our little omelette pan.  And I proceeded to create Crêpes Suzette for the first time.  And it was good.

I halved the recipe for the crêpe batter because it's just Lovey and myself and we don't need to eat six crêpes apiece and I can't see these being good as left overs.   The crêpe batter is simply whisked by hand in a mixing bowl and left in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.

I did, however, make a full recipe of the sauce because I figure you can't go wrong with extra sauce.  As you can tell by the ingredients it's a buttery, orange-y, boozy sauce; butter, sugar, orange rind, orange juice, kirsch, Cointreau

and orange flower water.  I'll be proud of myself the day I remember to put all of the ingredients in one photo.

Cream the butter and sugar then add the rind.  Slowly add the juice and spirits and beat to incorporate.

Although my pan was a nonstick I spread an eensy bit of butter in the pan anyway.  Quickly swirl the batter to cover the bottom of the pan.  I also kept it swirling to make sure it wasn't going to stick.

Place all the crêpes on a plate and set to the side while you make the sauce.

The orange butter is melted in a skillet, the crêpes dipped and folded then you get to become a pyromaniac and toss a little more sugar and booze in the pan and set her on fire.

Sadly, my flame lasted for such a short time I didn't get a snapshot of it.  It was a wimpy, faint flame; not the big explosion I was hoping it to be.  I have no idea why my crêpes didn't Suzette well.

But they were delectable just the same. 

Thoughts and Notes:
  • Crêpes are not intimidating made in a small omelette pan.
  • Most of the work for these can be done the day prior to your making them which is a good thing if you are making them for a dinner party
  • I ended up using only half of the orange butter mixture and I believe it would have been plenty had I made the twelve crêpes.
  • My 3 oranges produced 1 cup of juice (and they weren't large oranges); which I thought was too much; it would not all incorporate into the butter so I ended up only adding 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup
  • It will be forever embedded among the folds of my brain that 'alt-136' produces the circumflex ê
Crêpes Suzette
Adapted from the October 2012 issue of 'Saveur'
Makes 12 crêpes, serving 6

For the crêpes -
6 Tbsp. flour
6 eggs
6 Tbsp. milk
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
Unsalted butter, as needed

For the sauce - 
3 oranges
16 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
10 Tbsp. sugar, divided
7 Tbsp. Cointreau, divided
1 Tbsp. Kirsch
1 tsp. orange flower water
5 Tbsp. cognac

Mise en place:
  • measure the flour into a medium mixing bowl
  • crack eggs in small bowl and set aside
  • measure milk & heavy cream into a liquid measuring cup
  • wash and dry the oranges
  • peel rind from 2 of the oranges with a vegetable peeler, avoiding pith
  • mince rind and set aside
  • juice the oranges
  • place the butter into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer to let soften
  • measure the sugar, divided 1/2 cup and 2 Tbsp.
  • measure the Cointreau, divided 2 Tbsp. and 5 Tbsp.
  • measure the kirsch, orange flower water and cognac

For the crêpes:  Whisk together the flour and eggs in the medium mixing bowl.  Add milk and cream, and whisk until smooth.  Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

For the orange butter:  Beat the butter and the 1/2 cup sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add minced rind to butter and beat for 1 minute.  Gradually drizzle in juice, the 2 Tbsp. of Cointreau, the kirsch, and the orange flower water, beating constantly until very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Heat a seasoned crêpe pan or small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Grease pan with a little butter, then pour in 1/4 cup batter.  Working quickly, swirl batter to just coat pan, and cook until edges brown, about 1 minute.  Turn with a spatula and brown other side for about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining batter, greasing pan only as needed.

Melt orange butter sauce in a 12" skillet over medium heat until bubbling.  Dip both sides of one crêpe in sauce, then, with best side facing down, fold in half, then in half again.  Repeat process with remaining crêpes, arranging and overlapping them around the perimeter of the pan.  Sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbsp. of sugar.  Remove pan from heat, pour the remaining 5 Tbsp. of Cointreau and the cognac over crêpes, and carefully ignite with a match.  Spoon sauce over crêpes until flame dies out, and then serve immediately.

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