Today is pancake Tuesday, and I suddenly remembered that I made this ages ago and forgot to post it. What better time than Shrove Tuesday, the day pancakes are celebrated. Crêpes Suzette are simply thin pancakes drenched in an orange caramel sauce. One thing truly special about Crêpes Suzette is that you flambé the sauce. So, if your guests are adults, you can put on a show for them, by flambéing the sauce right in their presence.
For me, Crêpes Suzette will always hold a special memory. Very special indeed. My birthday month is smack in the middle of winter, so it has become a tradition I have started, to up sticks and go somewhere warm for a few days. 2012 was an especially difficult and challenging year, so I decided to pick a gorgeous location to de-stress and look forward to starting another year with many things to reminisce and be grateful for. That location was Malta, and it is a gorgeous hidden jewel in the Mediterranean. A tiny island, well two, brimming with so much energy, great weather, good food and beautiful beaches. The Blue Lagoon is one place not to be missed, with its gorgeous clear blue waters, you would think for a second you are somewhere in the Caribbean.
A short hop away is the gorgeous island of Gozo filled with culture and interesting architecture. Malta is a melting pot of different cultures, because in its history, it had been conquered many times by different countries. So, travelling through its streets and villages you can see the Arabic influence, Italian – (Sicily is just a few hours away by boat, so the Italian influence is very present in their cuisine), French and British, which to me is the best part because English is the 2nd official language and they drive on the left hand side. The Maltese are such friendly and warm people. Tourism brings in most of their revenue, so they are very inviting, and because they all speak English, I felt very much at home.
I did some gastronomy research for my birthday dinner because I wanted to treat myself to a fancy meal. Barracuda restaurant in St Julian’s bay ranked very high on the list of reviews, so I booked a table. Walking in, I realised it was a great choice. It is a fabulous restaurant and apparently a popular celebrity hangout in Malta, with pictures of celebrities who had eaten there plastered all over the walls, including Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, Supermodels and Music stars. I don’t know how I got so lucky, birthday magic I guess because I got one of the best tables in the house. The building the restaurant is located overhangs slightly into the bay, so my table was at that strategic corner and with windows starting from the floor, and huge lights at the base of the building, I could see the bay and waves lapping at the shore right beneath my feet. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. So, as not disgrace myself, being a fancy restaurant. I left my camera in the hotel. I will not make that mistake next time. Here is the link to the restaurant’s website. http://barracudarestaurant.com/the-restaurant/
The starter and main course were fabulous, but I will not be talking about that today. The desert was the bees knees. I ordered Crêpes Suzette because the reviews I read said they make it extra special by putting a show for you right at your table. So, I thought why not, it’s my birthday, and boy was I glad I did. As soon as the plates for the main course were cleared, a waiter strolled in with a trolley, and I thought okay, wow me. He started with making the crêpes, then the show really began when he started to flambé the sauce. It was so riveting, even other diners stopped to watch. Flames rising from the pan almost as high as the waiter himself. It was quite a show. Luckily, I recorded it on my phone and I will be uploading it once I figure out how. When the crêpeswere served, I told the waiter the experience was a really good birthday present, and he said out loud, ah it is your birthday, Miss. Okay we will sing for you. I said thanks, but no need. He said no way, then he got his colleagues to sing Happy Birthday in their loud Italian-esque voice, and the other guests in the restaurant joined in. My eyes were brimming with tears by the end. It was so touching and nice, coming from total strangers. I also got a free complimentary glass of dessert wine. Best birthday experience ever. All because of Crêpes Suzette. As I made this in my kitchen, I was experiencing nostalgia in waves. If you are stuck for options for dessert, I mean, we’ve all had cake and ice cream a gazillion times, or to celebrate Shrove Tuesday today, you want to do something a bit adult, make Crêpes Suzette.
You will need
Pancake batter to make pancakes – my pancake batter is one of the best I’ve ever had. It is my mum’s recipe and has had great feedback from readers. Click HERE for the recipe.
For the Sauce
1/2 cup Orange juice
zest of 1 Orange
1/3rd cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Cointreau – orange liqueur, you can also use brandy
1. Zest an Orange
2. Add the sugar into a pan, and heat it up until a light brown caramel starts to form and lightly bubble up
3. Turn down the heat, add the butter and stir until it dissolves.
4. Add the orange juice and orange zest and stir. Keep the pan on low heat, to allow the sauce to thicken. This should take 5 – 7 minutes.
5. At the end, you have a rich orange caramel sauce, which tastes absolutely wicked.
allow it to cool down, it will thicken slightly
6. Fold the pancakes into triangles and lay across a cold shallow or deep sauce pan.
7. Pour over the golden orange caramel sauce, and allow the pancakes to soak through with the sauce.
8. Pour the grand marnier or brandy into a pot and heat up for a few minutes. The show is about to begin, professional chef style. hehehehehe. Once the liqueur has warmed up, pour into the pan containing the Crepes and get out your lighter. Hold over a lit lighter just close to the layer of alcohol over the pancakes to flambé the sauce. This is truly a show for your guests, friends, family or even other half.
As soon as the flame hits the alcohol it will flambé.
Very delightful to watch, just ensure that you are not peering into the pan i.e. leaning forward and looking into the pan. This was my very first time, and it turned out brilliantly.
The flame will die out in about 30 – 45 seconds. Remember, to achieve a successful flambé, the pancakes have to be cool, same with the orange sauce. The only warmth you need is from the alcohol and it will ignite.
After which you plate the Crepes and serve. You can drizzle over any extra orange caramel sauce that you have.
this is yummy sinful goodness. The tangy orange, plus sweet caramel and then flavour from the Grand Marnier is amazing.
Golden delicious pancakes. Not to worry, any alcohol content is burned off from the flambé, leaving you with just the flavour.
depending on the number of guests you are expecting, you can make the crepes in advance and store in the fridge. You can also use high-end store-bought or bakery bought pancakes.
Fabulous idea for a romantic Saturday or Sunday morning breakfast too.
see the orange caramel sauce oozing and glistening.